Thursday, December 15, 2016

The veteran's address to a young sailor, 1803

"The Veteran's Address to a Young Sailor". London: 1803. Walpole Library.

Today's image is a London print from the team of Woodward and Ackerman. It offers an excellent compare and contrast between the clothes of a senior sailor who did his service in the 18th century, and a young sailor just starting out a life at sea. The veteran says:
"You are now, Young Man, entering on a scene of life the most glorious and enterprising - that of an English Sailor... An imperious and daring Invader threatens to approach your shores." The sailor is commanded to remember Drake, Howard, Blake, and Pocock, Russel, Boscawen, "Duncan, brave Cornwallis, Howe, Warren, Hood, the famed St. Vincent, and the undaunted Hero of the Nile!... Farewell! be vigilant, be bold - true to your God, your Country, and your King!"

The veteran on the left is dressed firmly in the style of the preceding century, with white hair (or a wig?) with a long white queue wrapped in a black ribbon and a long blue coat with white turn-backs. He wears white small clothes, which include a waistcoat that stretches over his prosperous belly, reaching to his thighs, knee breeches, and stockings. His shirt is ruffled, with a black stock, and his shoes are substantial, with large buckles.

In contrast, our young sailor wears all that is fashionable for a young sailor of the early 1800s: delicate pointed-toe pumps, red and white striped ankle-length broadfall trousers that are tight at the ankle, a triple-breasted blue jacket with small buttons and welted pockets cut high, and a large black neck-cloth worn tied loosely around his neck. He has a large round hat with a round crown and a black rosette in the band in one hand, and a thin stick tucked under his arm. His brown hair is curly, and very short.

While sailors had been wearing striped trousers for a long time by the time this print was made, the contrast between the veteran's conservative, traditional naval uniform and the fashionable cut of the youth's clothes in this print make an excellent contrast.

1 comment:

  1. While both men are sailors in the broad sense of the word. I would say the veteran is an officer (a lieutenant) and the other from the lower deck.