Friday, November 4, 2016

The sailor, 1792

"The Sailor". S.W. Fores, London, 1792. The Lewis Walpole Library.

Today's image is a romantic English mezzotint from 1792. The scene it portrays is from a popular story from the 1780s entitled "The Adventures of a Hackney Coach", reprinted in numerous editions in England and America throughout the end of the 18th century. A sailor (speaking in the caption in nautical jargon) hands a letter to a woman in torn clothes, while the titular hackney coach waits in the background:
Hollo!—pilot! tell that there lass with the short petticoats and tight heels to step aboard, I've got a letter from her brother for her."

"What cheer! what cheer, Nan!— what storm hast thou been in, my lass, thy rigging seems a little tattered and yet thy bottom is tight and clean?"
"The storm of adversity, says the poor girl—"O,—an' that be all, here is what will set thee to rights speedily, my girl;" pulling a dirty letter from his pocket.—She read it, and found it contained an order on her brother's owner for ten pounds.

Our sailor wears pointed-toe shoes with square white-metal buckles and red and white striped trousers that end at the ankle showing white socks. On his upper body a white waistcoat with a few buttons undone at the top combined with a tightly-tied voluminous black handkerchief shows a blue and white checked shirt beneath. His long blue jacket has short tails that reach to his thighs, with seven large yellow metal buttons up the front. A large gold fob hangs from a wide green ribbon at his waist, and he carries a stick in one hand. 

His hat reminds me of one from The Flowing Can (1791), as it is bound around the brim and the base of the crown with what looks like yellow tape. His long brown hair flows down to his shoulders.

No comments:

Post a Comment