Sunday, April 23, 2017

An Irish Pilot or Steering by Chance (1812)

"An Irish Pilot, or Steering by Chance". London, 1812. Royal Museums Greenwich.
The British Navy was made up of a number of nationalities, including Welsh, Irish, and Scottish, as well as seamen from Scandinavia and America. The diversity of the lower deck provided ample fodder for caricaturists, as in my previous post about Welshmen, and this engraving entitled "Makeing a Compass at Sea or the Use of a Scotch Louse".

This English engraving from 1812 features a captain with a spyglass says, "Now en't you a pretty fellow for a Pilot? to see Land and not know where we are!", to which the pilot replies, "Och my dear Jewel! only shew me the Old head of Kinsale, and I'll tell you where to an Inch!"
The sailor on the left wears black tie shoes and white stockings, with blue striped trousers, the lacing of which can be seen at his back. He wears a short-cut blue jacket on his torso, and the sleeves of his blue and white checked shirt bell out beyond the ends of his cuffs. His brown hair is short and curly.
The Irish pilot is not a member of the ship's crew, but dresses similarly. He wears black tie shoes and white stockings, and his blue trousers are long and wide. His white waistcoat is worn unbuttoned at the top and bottom and his black handkerchief is tied tightly around his neck, the ends streaming out in the breeze. His brown jacket is worn open. On his head he wears an orange tube cap with a white brim, and from under it peeps a mass of curly brown hair.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Jack hove down - With a Grog Blossom Fever, (c 1805)

Jack Hove Down - With a Grog Blossom Fever. Thomas Tegg, London, c. 1805. Royal Museums Greenwich.

Today's image is a very expressive caricature of a sailor who's had too much to drink, arguing with the physician tending to him. This image is from one of Thomas Tegg's early 19th c. series of caricatures.
'hold---I must stop your Grog Jack---it excites those impulses, and concussions of the Thorax, which a company Ternutation by which means You are in a sort of a kind of a Situation---that Your head must be-Shaved- I shall take from you only 20 oz of Blood-then swallow this Draught and Box of Pills, and I shall administer to You a Clyster.

'Stop my Grog-Belay there Doctor---Shiver my timbers but your lingo bothers me-You May batter my Hull as long as you like, but I'll be d--'nd if You ever board me with your Clyster pipe.
Jack lies in his hammock under a patterned green blanket in a blue and white striped shirt, a bottle of grog in one hand. On his head he wears a simple brown tube cap, gathered at the top, from which peeks out wavy brown hair. His blue jacket lies on the deck, with a partially-unbuttoned mariner's cuff visible - two buttons buttoned, two unbuttoned. His shirt is worn with narrow cuffs closed with sleeve buttons, and his broad collar spreads over a red handkerchief tied below his breastbone.

In Jack's sea chest are a number of labeled items, including one named "pig tail"! [edited to add: as a kind reader pointed out, it's a type of tobacco!]

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Use of a Gentleman or Patronage for the Admiralty (1810)

The Use of a Gentleman or Patronage for the Admiralty. Published by Thomas Tegg, London. Undated; c. 1810. The British Museum.

The undiscerning nature of the press gang appeared frequently in 18th century caricatures like The Liberty of the Subject (1779), but in this 19th century update the artist mocks the results of the press laying their hands on members of the social elite.
 The Use of a Gentleman or Patronage for the Admiralty. Royal Museums Greenwich copy.

The scene shows two gentlemen in fashionable civilian clothes pleading their case to an officer. Their exaggerated clothes and posture are contrasted with the round and solid plainness of the sailors, and their useless refinements in contrast to the blunt, practical effectiveness of the clubs and shackles of the press gang.

One fresh recruits pleads his case, that he is indeed a gentleman who is well known in Bond Street. The officer hopes that the man will be able to teach his crew some manners: "Yes, yes! I see you are every inch a Gentleman, and just the person we want, my men have pressed a d---'d numer [sic] of Blackguards, and we want a Gentleman on board to teach them good manners!"  

This image shows a few items new to this blog, including men wearing cutlasses with balrdics! The sailor with his back to the viewer wears black pumps, blue (or white) trousers with hems that drag on the ground. Although he carries a solid stick in his right hand he also wears a cutlass on a baldric, with a black scabbard with a yellow chape and locket. His jacket is blue, with buttons painted yellow in the British Museum copy. Shoulder-length brown hair peeps out from under a black round hat.

His mate on the far right left wears white (or light blue, or white being shown in shadow) trousers, a blue jacket, and a yellow handkerchief with red spots. Brown curly hair peeping out from under a black round hat completes the look.

The central two sailors offer much to look at. The man on the left wears black buckled shoes, dark blue (or light blue, or white being shown in shadow) trousers, again with wide legs and cuffs that drag on the ground. a blue jacket (with small yellow buttons in the British Museum copy), and a black hat with a tightly-curled brim, with straight brown hair peeping out from under it. In the British Museum's copy his waistcoat is indistinguishable from his jacket and his handkerchief is black, while in the Royal Museums Greenwich print his waistcoat and handkerchief are white.

The sailor at the center of the print is colored almost the same in both versions. He stands with his legs wide, wearing small buckled shoes, white stockings, and broadfall trousers with very wide legs and cuffs that drag extremely on the ground. He wears a red waistcoat, white shirt, and black handkerchief. His blue jacket has gold buttons in the British Museum copy - the only difference. He also wears a cutlass on a baldric, though he carries a stout cudgel under one arm. Brown curly shoulder length hair peeps out from a round hat with tightly-curled sides and a piece of string tied around the hatband.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Book Deal! - April Fools!

Napoleonic Tars: 1790-1820 is pleased to announce its first book deal! Color along with such figures as Jack Tar, Lord Nelson, Boney, and Poll of Portsmouth, and learn how the artistic choices of early 19th century painters and print colorists shape modern perceptions of sailor clothing!
This is only an April Fools joke at the moment, but National Coloring Book Day is August 2nd - a PDF coloring book released with permission of the Walpole Library is in the distinct realm of possibility.

The image is "The Sailor's Will and His Power", 1808.