Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Fleet Wedding, 1747

A Fleet wedding between a brisk young sailor & his landlady's daughter at Rederiff, engraved by John June, 1747, British Museum.

June's engraving is a companion piece to "The Sailor's Fleet Wedding Entertainment," published the same year. This print depicts the arrival of the bride and groom and the guests that greet them.

The sailor and his bride stride happily toward a pair of reverends, arm in arm. They are the same couple in the companion piece, and just as happy in their embrace.

The sailor-groom wears the same fine shore going rig in both prints. An untrimmed cocked hat with a large bow (though on the left side in the first print, and right on the second), long white neckcloth or cravat hanging down over a single breasted plain waistcoat, and a single breasted blue jacket with mariner's cuffs fastened by cloth covered buttons. Notably, his cuffs are frilled, something you would expect at a wedding and probably never see while working aboard.

As our sailor is standing in the open and not behind a table, we get a good look at the hem of his waistcoat, which is cut much as any of the century, with a cutaway and pocket flaps that line up right at the waist (about a modern belt line). His breeches appear to have a broad fall fly, but the shoes have too little detail to draw any solid conclusions.

To the right, a sailor hoists his rather rotund woman from the carriage. Though many in the nearby crowd do not share the sentiment, this sailor and his lady are jovial.

He wears a cocked hat with a large white cockade on the right over bob styled hair. His jacket has waist pockets with three vents along the back. At the end of his jacket are mariner's cuffs fastened with six buttons and frilled cuffs. Our tar's slops end below the knee, showing off white stockings, and pointed toe shoes. 

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