Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Sailor Sentinel on the Pallas Gangway, 1774

"A sailor sentinel on the Pallas gangway," by Gabriel Bray, 1774, National Maritime Museum.

This is easily one of the most unique of the sailor images of the eighteenth century I've come across. Even among images of sailors of the navy, it's rare to find them with small arms. His outfit is also very interesting.

The cocked hat is very different from those we've seen before. It's a brown piece tied up with black cord. The back of the hat is let down, possibly to protect his neck from the sun. The point of the hat is not cocked at all in stark contrast to many other images showing the hats so cocked that they appear to be reversed. His short and loose hair peeks from beneath the hat.

The overcoat he wears is very interesting. The cuffs are huge, especially for a period this late. It's very loosely fitted, almost like a capote. It's a light blue or blue-grey that ends above the trousers.

The trousers are are an off-white with very rough ends. They end right at the ankle, but the angle and shading don't really let us see his stockings (if any). The shoes are rounded with oval buckles.

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