Monday, February 3, 2014

The British Tar at Omoa, 1780

The British Tar at Omoa, Humphrey, 1780, British Museum.

A British sailor, demonstrating the chivalry of the British, strides forward to offer a sword to an embarrassingly unprepared Spaniard. This scene is a popular subject for prints, as we've seen before. In the background a phalanx of bayonets drives away Spanish grenadiers, to the sound of a ship's broadside at the left.

Our hero may be gallant in his offering defense to the Spanish officer, but he insults their flag by stepping across it in his pointed toe shoes with oval buckles. His trousers are white, and end above the ankle, cinching close at the waist. His jacket is single breasted, ending at the waist and with simple, unadorned or slashed cuffs. The jack's neckcloth is tied in a very odd fashion, almost like a cravat. Over short and loose hair he wears a round hat with a short brim.

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