Monday, August 1, 2016

My Poll and my Partner Joe, 1790 (British Tars)

Welcome to Napoleonic Tars, an examination of the dress of common sailors in the English-speaking world through primary source images for the period 1790-1820.

To begin I share with permission a post from British Tars: 1740-1790: My Poll and my Partner Joe, 1790.

"My Poll and My Partner Joe," Isaac Cruikshank, 1790, Walpole Library.
British Tars writes:

Cruikshank's print accompanies a ballad drawn from the 1774 opera "The Waterman." It relates the tale of an unnamed waterman who is pressed into service. He spends years at sea, fighting and sailing through trying times. When peace is at last upon him, he returns home to find his wife Poll embracing his friend Joe. He relates that on the shocking site, he "boldly kick'd My POLL and my Partner JOE."

Our unfortunate waterman has curly brown hair that drapes onto his shoulders, under a tall cylindrical crowned round hat. A yellow neckerchief spotted with red hangs down over his double breasted red waistcoat which appears to be tucked into his white slops/petticoat trousers. The telltale blue sailor's jacket has brass buttons along the lapels and closed mariner's cuffs. At his waist is a yellow watch fob, and in his hand is a cudgel.

"My Poll and My Partner Joe," Isaac Cruikshank, 1790, Walpole Library.
In this colorization, the former waterman's hair is white, his neckerchief pink with dark spots, his jacket red with cloth covered buttons, and his waistcoat striped with narrow horizontal blue.

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