Friday, September 30, 2016

A Witness, 1825

"A Witness" - Isaac Cruiskshank, 1825.
Royal Museums Greenwich.
This is the last post of the month, which means it's time for another image of sailors created outside of the 1790-1820 time period. Today's image is an engraving from 1825, created by prolific caricaturist George Cruickshank (1792-1878). George was the son of caricaturist Isaac Cruickshank, and continued his father's artistic and satirical legacy well into the 19th century. I've featured several I. Cruickshank prints before, most recently "That Accounts for It" (1799).

It's fascinating for me to see how portrayals of sailors' clothing start to evolve in the mid-1810s, and are well on their way to being something quite different of turn-of-the-century clothing by the mid 1820s. The sailors in this print have all shed the breeches, petticoat breeches, and buckled shoes that they were commonly portrayed wearing from the early 18th century to the end of the Napoleonic Wars in favor of long, broad-legged white trousers and black pumps. Their neck-cloths (all black) are very loosely tied around their necks with the knot around their breastbone and the ends hanging down well below the waistbands of their trousers, which sit closer to the natural waist than the extremely high waistline of civilian menswear of the 1810s.
One sailor has a tall white shirt collar, a harbinger of longer shirt collars to come that will eventually be decorated with embroidery. He wears the yet-eternal blue jacket with mariner's cuffs worn open, but another sailor wears a striped blue and white guernsey frock (a knit sweater worn over a shirt) instead of a jacket. Several sailors carry hats; two of them are both white straw decorated with black ribbons, and have a lower crown than the oversized blue rosette-bedecked "squashy" black hats sailors are often show wearing in caricatures from 1790-1810. Several of the sailors have impressive sideburns.

This print and other artwork I'll feature from the 1820s to 50s is a good reminder to not extrapolate sailor fashions of the 1820s and 30s backwards, and to be cautious about using artwork that depicts a previous time period.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

That accounts for it, 1799

"That Accounts for It." Isaac Cruickshank, London, 1799.
The Lewis Walpole Library.
 Today's print from 1799 is a Cruickshank caricature featuring a variety of characters, both civilian and military. Our sailor sports an unusual hat that looks a bit more like a cap than a round hat. He carries a black stick under his arm and is missing his leg below the knee: the limb has been replaced by a black-painted peg leg.

This will probably be a print I revisit in a few years when I have more understanding of the time period to explain the context of this print.

"Why I say my hearty - we hear nothing of the French Navy now -
I suppose they got so cursedly lick'd the last time,
they did'nt [sic] like it - eh - my hearty -
aye That - accounts for it."

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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Proof Positive or no Deceiving a Sailor, 1807

"Proof Positive or no Deceiving a Sailor."
"The caricature magazine, or Hudibrastic mirror." G.M. Woodward: London, 1807.
The Lewis Walpole Library.
Mocking the inability of sailors to ride or judge horseflesh was a common trope of caricatures, seen in several posts already. Today's image from 1807 continues this mockery with another sailor displeased with his mount.
Our sailor wears a round hat with a tall, straight crown with a very wide blue ribbon and enormous cockade, with short, curly red hair peeking out underneath. His blue jacket has small blue buttons and his black handkerchief is tied tightly around his neck. Broadfall trousers with red stripes, white stockings, and black pumps with big gold buckles complete the look. Instead of a sturdy stick the sailor holds a thin riding whip in his hand.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sailors at a Methodist sermon, 1819

Sailors at a Methodist sermon, 1819.
London, Woodward delt; S.W. Fores publisher.
The Lewis Walpole Library.
This caricature from 1819 is almost at the end of this blog's time period, and my first image covering the post-Treat of Paris era. In it a smug sailor gives back a snappy retort to a wild-haired Methodist preacher.
Of interest is how the sailor is shown to be a sailor when he is dressed almost identically to the man behind him, in a short, single-breasted jacket worn open, a handkerchief tied tightly around his neck, a single-breasted waistcoat worn buttoned, trousers that are a bit baggy in the rear, and a hat. It is not necessarily unique clothing that unmistakably marks him to be a sailor but the colors of his clothes: a blue jacket, red waistcoat, white trousers, and black hat. The colorist knew what people expected a stereotypical sailor to look like, and colored his clothes as such. (As a side note, the version of this print in the collection of Royal Museums Greenwich is colored the same way.)

Differentiating him from the men around him is the fact that the sailor carries a stick with a big, knobby head and that his round hat is somewhat "squashy" looking, with a hatband, turned-up brim, and a large crown. Instead of being brushed forward as was fashionable on land or worn curled his short brown hair is naturally curly and flows out from under his hat.

The man all the way to the right may also be a sailor, judging by the blue rosette in his hat, blue jacket and trousers, black handkerchief, and stick tucked under his arm.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Progress of gallantry, 1814

"Progress of gallantry, or Stolen kisses sweetest."
Thomas Rowlandson, London. [1814].
The Lewis Walpole Library.
 Today's print is our first from the 1810s, a satirical Thomas Rowlandson caricature from 1814. It features an obese, elderly sailor looking through a spyglass at the ships on the sea while the woman accompanying him kisses a handsome, young military officer. This particular print from the Walpole Library is crudely colored.

The sailor wears a black round hat with a tall crown and curled brim, out from which peeks sparse, closely-cropped white hair. His blue jacket is almost cut like a coatee, with buttons in the small of the back, short tails with slits, and a cutaway front, possibly with a buttoned-back double breasted front. His ample belly hangs low in a red waistcoat with welted pockets. His loose trousers stop above the ankle and are white with buttoned pockets, and on his feet he wears white stockings and black tie shoes.

In the background on the beach sits another figure who may be a sailor; all that is visible of his clothing is a blue jacket and a mass of brown hair.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Making a sailor an odd fellow, 1806

Today's post features another Tar trying to join a fraternal organization. This time it's the Odd Fellows, a fraternity founded in London in the mid-18th century for the purposes of fellowship, revelry, and charity.
Making a sailor an odd fellow!! By Woodward and Cruikshank,
published. by T. Tegg. London: 1806.
The Lewis Walpole Library.
 Our Jack wears a black round hat with a tall, flat crown and a blue hat ribbon and rosette. His brown hair is short with impressive sideburns. His blue jacket is double-breasted with white buttons, and a brass case peeks out of one pocket. Around his neck is a loosely-knotted red handkerchief with yellow spots. A bit of white shirt is visible under his handkerchief. He sports white petticoat breeches, white stockings, and pointed-toe shoes with white metal buckles.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Making a sailor a free mason, 1807

"Making a Sailor a Free Mason." London : Pub. by T. Tegg, [1807].
The Lewis Walpole Library.
Today's caricature from 1807 is another print of a sailor where I have multiple colorizations to look at, giving several perspectives on what assumptions early 19th c. colorists had about the colors of sailor clothing. This print is from The Caricature Magazine, or Hudibrastic Mirror, of which Volume I began publication in 1807.

Our sailor Benjamin Block wishes to become a Freemason, and is kneeling on a cushion surrounded by men in aprons with masonic symbols lying on the floor. He has suffered the indignity of having his shirt-tails pulled out and "cut and marked with divers mysteries signs, and tangents", and all that remains of his initiation is for him to be blindfolded and have some business with a red hot poker, which he objects to most strenuously. While there is a good deal more to be said about the context of the scene and this cartoon I will leave that for a future date when I am more familiar with my subject material.

In all three versions the sailor wears black shoes with big buckles, white stockings, and a blue jacket with buttons painted blue. His dress varies mainly in the color of his trousers and his handkerchief.
In this version Jack's trousers are white with no colorization, just the black lines of the etching. His neckstock is white, which makes it look like a ruffled-front shirt, and his shoe buckles are gold.
In this version Jack's trousers are striped white and blue, his handkerchief is red, and his shoe buckles are white metal.
In this version Jack's trousers are striped white and red, his handkerchief is black with some white shirt showing, and his shoe buckles are white metal. Also unique to this colorization is that Jack's straight, spiky hair is black instead of brown.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Part of the crew of His Majesty's Ship Guardian, 1790 (British Tars)

Today's post is copied with permission from British Tars: 1740-1790: Part of the crew of His Majesty's Ship Guardian, 1790.

"Part of the crew of His Majesty's Ship Guardian endeavouring to escape in the boats".
Robert Dodd, 1790, National Portrait Gallery (Australia).
"...Robert Dodd's print is somewhat idealized in its portrayal, but decidedly more harrowing. Walls of ice threaten the stranded ship, and the boats are tossed on threatening waves. When the Guardian, bound for New South Wales with convicts aboard, struck ice and was stranded, many of her crew and passengers took to the boats. We see only some of the 259 people that crammed onto the five boats. Of these only fifteen would survive. Riou managed to get ahead of the rapidly gaining water in his hold (at its height, there was sixteen feet of water in his ship) and made it safety. His tale of survival would be the inspiration for the third act of Patrick O'Brian's novel "Desolation Island."

Looking over the larboard rail amidships is Lieutenant Riou. He stands with a certain posture of confidence that the other figures in this piece lack. The men around him scrambling across the deck and down the side into the boats wear trousers, jackets that end at or below the waist, and round hats with narrow brims and tall cylindrical crowns.
Keeping his balance and giving instructions to the men in the boats, the central figure in this detail is Master Celements. His left hand holds an octant, a navigational instrument that will be essential to the survival of the men. The men are ill-equipped for surviving in open arctic waters. Many are without jackets, some without even waistcoats. Many wear loose black neckerchiefs, looser than I am accustomed to seeing in images of sailors. Some have work caps, some round hats with narrow brims and tall cylindrical crows, and one (an oarsman in Master Clements' boat) wears a cloth wrapped around his head. Movies, TV shows, and reenactors often portray sailors with a cloth wrapped around the head, but this is the first image I've seen of it. It is possible that this sailor has bandaged a wound, rather than wearing it for comfort or fashion, but with his back turned toward us, it is difficult to say. The only other figure of note is the tar standing at the mast of his boat, who wears a double breasted jacket and a white neckcloth tied in a fancy sort of manner."