Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Welch Sailor's Mistake or Tars in Conversation, c. 1807

"The Welch Sailor's Mistake or Tars in Conversation." London: 1807. Lewis Walpole Library.
Today's image is another engraving from Woodward's caricature magazine, the Hudibrastic Mirror. This image makes fun of stereotypes of Welshmen, and features five sailors enjoying themselves on the deck of a ship. The dialogue is as follows:
"-And so then do you see David we sprung a leak"
"Cot pless us - and save us - did you! and a ferry coot fetchitable it is. I should have liked to have had a pit with you."
The jug at the English sailor's feet is labeled "Real oronooko" - a type of rum.
Although identified as Welsh, David dresses no differently than the other sailors - in fact he wears his clothes in the same fashion as the sailor on the far right, and is colored the same way: buckled shoes, red and white striped trousers, a double-breasted white waistcoat, blue jacket worn open, black neck-cloth worn with the knot around the collarbone and the ends hanging loose, and a big squashy black round hat with a blue ribbon and rosette.

The other two sailors on the left wear black round hats without ribbons or rosettes, black neck-cloths, and blue jackets. One sailor can be seen as having a white waistcoat, and the other is wearing blue trousers and black shoes with white buckles.

The English sailor telling his story is dressed the same as the sailor on the far right except he has a blue hatband and is smoking a pipe. All the visible cuffs have four or five small buttons, and the sailors all have short, brown curls hair, except for David, who is painted with blond hair (a rare choice for a colorist for a sailor in a caricature), and the sailor on the far right might be wearing a bobwig.

1 comment:

  1. The jar of "Real Oronooko" is of tobacco. Orinoco tobacco was one of two types of tobacco grown in Virginia in the 17th and 18th centuries. Tobacco planters in 18th c. Virginia often grew both the Orinoco and sweet-scented varieties at the same time, as bills of lading list both for trade with England. By the end of the 18th c., Orinoco dominated the market. Given the date of this image, it is not surprising to see a jar of Orinoco in it. Very cool!