Friday, September 23, 2016

Sailors on horseback, 1811

Continuing our trend of caricatures of sailors having misadventures on horses, today's image from 1811 (one an undated reissue) shows three sailors mounted on horseback racing along. A fourth sailor on the ground has lost his mount - clearly an end the sailor who has been lashed to his mount with "stout cables" is trying to prevent. The whole scene suggests that no possible good can come of this.

I'm showing both of the Walpole's colorations of this print, which both have striped trousers, red and blue jackets, and round hats with cockades. Some of the sailors wear clothes that look more civilian than others, though which sailors are painted as such changes between the prints, and the sailorly nature of all of them is revealed by their jargon-ridden dialogue: the man on the ground cries "Mind what you are at Messmates for I am upset. [A]nd the Frigate I came on board of has been underweigh [sic] without me this half hour". As always, click on the link to the Walpole to view the print at the Walpole, where you can zoom in on the high-resolution image.
"Sailors on Horseback".  GM Woodward, London, c. 1811.
Link to original at full size: The Lewis Walpole Library.

This first colorization shows two sailors in striped trousers (one blue, one red), with the remaining two in blue and a color that could be buff or brown. Two are wearing the usual blue jackets and two are wearing red, a less common color for colorists to use for sailor jackets, but the shapes of their jackets and the details of the cuff remain the same. All four have black round hats, and one has a rosette in his that looks more like a cockade. The sailor on the ground has a loosely-tied handkerchief around his neck colored yellow, and two of the other sailors look to have white neckwear. The two sailors with visible shoes wear white socks and round-toed buckled shoes with large buckles painted as white. All sailors have short, curly brown hair, and the ones shown in profile have distinct sideburns that reach down to their earlobes.

"Sailors on Horseback". Thomas Rowlandson, London, 1811.
Link to original at full size: The Lewis Walpole Library.
The second colorization shows some nice variation: the sailor to the far right looks nothing like a sailor in his light blue trousers, brown coat, and pinkish-red waistcoat that matches the unhorsed sailor's handkerchief. Two sailors have white trousers and blue jackets, and the remaining one has striped blue trousers and a red jacket.

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