Friday, March 14, 2014

Charity Covereth a Multitude of Sins, 1781

Charity Covereth a Multitude of Sins, Thomas Rowlandson, 1781, British Museum.

A brisk young army officer knocks at the door of a bawdy house, gazing up at a pair of women as he drops a coin into the hat of a wanting sailor. The title suggests his giving is merely to impress the women, but he himself may be taken in. Beside the house is a sign warning "Men Traps a Laid Here Every Night." Perhaps the word "laid" carries more weight for the officer than the word "traps."

Balanced on his crutches, the sailor in this piece holds forth his black hat, though the cut of it makes it difficult to determine if it is a cocked hat or a round hat. His double blue short jacket has slash cuffs and brass buttons all around. He is without a waistcoat, wearing only a white shirt. The red dotted yellow neckcloth is fitted about his head, presumably to cover some wound. Ending above the ankles, his trousers are red striped. Pointed toe shoes fitted with rectangular buckles finish off his slop clothes.

Plate, c. 1770

Plate, Sadler & Green, c. 1770, British Museum.

This simple transferware plate is decorated with the common "sailor's farewell" trope. A sailor embraces his lass, gesturing toward the sea. She gazes up to his eyes and envelopes him in both of her arms.

The sailor wears a reversed and small cocked hat, striped neckcloth, and a slightly longer jacket. His waistcoat is longer than many worn by sailors, with narrow vertical stripes. The long trousers are plain and end above the ankle. In his right hand is a long stick.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Macarony Brothers, 1772

The Macarony Brothers, Michel Vincent Brandoin, 1773, Yale University Lewis Walpole Library.

Macaroni (sometimes spelled, as here, "macarony") prints were very popular in the late eighteenth century. These satirical illustrations poked fun at the latest styles and at the men who wore them. I speculate that this print might be reflecting the moral character of the macaroni on the left with the sailor on the right. As "brothers" these two have the same character, though the fop hides it behind his stylish suit and hat.

The jack is accompanied by a monkey, who wears a cocked hat trimmed in tape with a large cockade, a coat, and a fancy shirt with frilled cuffs. His owner makes no effort to present himself as well as the monkey or the macaroni. His hat is either a cocked hat with a narrow brim let down, or a round hat with the edges turned up. The neckcloth is striped, and he wears no waistcoat. Our tar's jacket is single breasted with waist pocket flaps and buttons. The buttons appear to be cloth covered. His trousers end about mid-calf, and are plain. Round toe shoes with rectangular buckles complete his slop clothes. In his left hand is a walking stick, and in his right is the chain to his monkey.


Plate, 1769

Plate, John Sadler, 1769, National Maritime Museum.

This transfer printed creamware plate is an intriguing piece. The names ascribed to the bottom have been traced by the wonderful researchers at the National Maritime Museum, who traced John Sheldrake and his wife Sarah Artis. I would assume this plate was a commemoration of their wedding in March, 1769. Oddly, the man's name is not used, but the woman's is. According to the catalog entry in the National Maritime Museum, John Sheldrake was illiterate. It may be that Sarah was marrying below her station, and the plate gave more acknowledgment to her than to him because of this. But that is only one of many plausible theories. What do you think?

In the center of the piece a sailor sits atop a barrel, leaning against his love. He cradles a stick in his left hand. Atop his head is a cocked hat with a cockade on the right side, and trimmed in narrow tape. There is no waistcoat over his shirt, and his single breasted jacket with waist pockets and slash cuffs hangs open. Plain trousers end well above his ankle.

To the left and beneath the sign of the King of Prussia is a sailor leaning over a fence to plant a kiss on the lips of a handsome lass. Like his mate, he wears a cocked hat, though this is untrimmed and without a cockade. At that, the hat is smaller, befitting the "apple pasty" style common to sailors. Unlike his mate, his jacket is shorter and without waist pockets or cuffs. It probably has three vents along the back, but the angle and shading make it a bit unclear. It may be only a single vent at the center back. Striped trousers complete this jack's slop clothes.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Figure, 1758

Figure, Bow Porcelain Co., 1758, National Maritime Museum.

I've managed to dig up another reference to striped petticoat trousers! The sailor this figure depicts wears a reversed cocked hat and a light yellow neckcloth with narrow red stripes. His blue waistcoat is fitted with narrow, vertical gold stripes. The jacket is pink with narrowly spaced buttons.White stockings and round toe shoes with oval buckles complete the outfit.

Print, Date Unknown

Print, artist unknown, date unknown, British Museum.

This is one of the first images that I collected for this project, but I've long resisted posting it. The main reason I've avoided it is the incredibly broad date for the piece. The British Museum estimates it as anywhere from the 1760's to the 1780's. Judging by the general clothing of the tars (with the bow in the short brimmed round hat, the close fitting striped trousers) and the women (which appears to be a style from the 1780's), I would lean toward a later date for the print. As with some of my previous prints, I'll ask for your help in narrowing the date!

In a familiar scene, a pair of sailors court a pair of pretty ladies around a bowl of punch. This time they are accompanied by a peg legged fiddler who does not look as jovial as the rest of the company.

At the center of the piece and in the background is a tar entertaining his lass. They lean in for a kiss while she sits on his lap, showing a bit more leg beneath the table than is acceptable in good society. Her arm is buried beneath the lapel of his jacket, which itself is fitted with metal buttons. His neckcloth is white and fitted like a cravat. Perhaps it would be more accurate to conclude that this is a cravat and not a neckcloth, being as they are in shore-going clothes. Either way, the sailor's hat has an unusually high crown, almost like a top hat or coachman's hat of later years. The brim is narrow.

His mate, also entertaining a maid, wears a round hat with a shorter crown though a similarly narrow brim. There is a large bow fitted to the hat on his right side. Like his mate, this tar wears a jacket with metal buttons, which appears to be unlined. At his neck is a dotted neckcloth, tied into a square knot. His trousers are striped vertically, and his pointed toe shoes have rectangular buckles.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Myneer Nic Frogs Lamentation, or Dutch Milk a fine Relish to English Sailors, 1781

Myneer Nic Frog's Lamentation, or Dutch Milk a fine Relish to English Sailors, W. Wells, 1781, National Maritime Museum.

The Dutch and the British, each personified, face off over a cow's milk. I'm having a lot of trouble understanding what precisely is going on here, but the British sailor is clearly making away with the milk while ships in the background trade broadsides. This cartoon is wonderfully colorful and detailed, and gives us a lot to talk about. 

The tar wears a black round hat with a wide brim that is just barely turned up on each side. His neckcloth is yellow with red stripes. Our sailor's white lined blue jacket ends at the top of the thigh, is double breasted with slash cuffs, and no pockets. His waistcoat is red and triple breasted with brass buttons. The broad fall fly of his slops are wonderfully detailed, and the slops themselves are striped with red vertical stripes! This is very unusual indeed. Beneath this is a pair of white stockings, and pointed toe shoes with rectangular buckles. 

The Sailor's Farewell, Date Unknown

The Sailor's Farewell, Charles Mosley, date unknown, National Maritime Museum.

Mosley takes a stab at the sailor's farewell trope with this colorful print. The date is unknown, but Mosley was active in the mid eighteenth century. His more famous piece depicting the brawl on the Strand dates to the late 1740's, but this print was done by Carington Bowles, who continued to print for decades beyond. We can conclude that this print dates solidly within the period of our study, but it is difficult to say more than that.

In this print, a woman embraces a sailor who motions away, though his face is etched with sadness. Unlike many depictions of the sailor's farewell and sailor's return, this one does not take place on dry land, but aboard a vessel. The waving ensign beyond the window is accompanied by block and tackle and ratlines. Hanging above the couple is a sleeping sailor in a red headwrap or cap.

The sailor wears an older style of single breasted blue jacket, ending at the top of the thigh. It is unlined with narrowly spaced cloth covered buttons. He does not wear a waistcoat and his shirt is plain white. The white trousers at his waist are belted with a brown leather belt, and end above the ankles.

The figure in the hammock I presume to be a sailor. It looks that he is wearing a blue short jacket, a red workman's cap, and is otherwise beneath a dark blue blanket.

Think you can help us to narrow down the date? Leave us a comment and let me know!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

All Hands to a Court Martial, 1745

All Hands to a Court Martial, artist unknown, 1745, National Maritime Museum.

The catalog entry for this print on the National Maritime Museum's collections website is, as yet, incomplete. With a collection as massive as this, and an ongoing digitization project, it is understandable that this site has not yet filled in all the gaps. Unfortunately, I do not know what event or which people this cartoon is referring to. What I can say is that a group of gentleman (or perhaps naval officers) are being led by Britannia to the personification of Justice. The men fear their fate, and are goaded on by sailors to either side, who shout such encouraging phrases as "Keel haul 'em all!"

In the foreground and to the far left are a number of tars with cudgels, following the group of soon to be condemned men. The sailor who we see in the most detail is in the right of the group, with a reversed cocked hat, a dotted neckcloth, and striped trousers. He and all of his mates wear long jackets with notably long slash cuffs. Behind this jack is a lad wearing a cocked hat, dark neckcloth and short hair. To the left of him is another sailor, this one in a single breasted jacket trimmed in tape with waist pockets. He also wears a cocked hat, though this on is trimmed, and it is not entirely clear if he's wearing it cocked sideways or reversed. Unlike his mate, he wears a pair of plain white trousers.

In the background and to the left of the gentlemen is another mess of jack tars. Leading them is a particularly enthusiastic mariner, waving his round hat and stick. He too wears a pair of plain trousers. Beside him is the rest of the crew, wearing much the same, though with less detail. The most notable of these is the sailor second from the right, who is turned just enough for us to see the three vents at the rear of his jacket.

Edit: See below for a great rundown of the political situation surrounding this print, courtesy of John Johnson

The Sailor's Return, 1744

The Sailor's Return, Louis Pierre Boitard, 1744, National Maritime Museum.

If not for the fact that this print explicitly states that its subject were a sailor, one could easily think he was not. Our tar hands a watch to a smiling lass, who extends her apron filled with coins to accept it. Behind them rolls a wagon with a guard of sailors, atop which flies a captured Spanish flag beneath a triumphant British one.

The most obvious tip-off to our subject being a sailor is the cocked hat. Untrimmed and reversed, it is the same as those worn by the more conservatively dressed jacks in the background (who wear jackets and trousers, though there isn't enough to detail to say much more about them). The sailor's white neckcloth blows over his right shoulder, and his long coat and waistcoat are very fine for his lowly position. Tucked beneath his arm is a fine walking stick, tucked under the arm in the same fashion as sailors with far less impressive sticks. Another hint to his profession is the belt around his waist, which holds a cutlass and pistol. His breeches match the hue of his jacket (likely blue), and his white stockings lead to round toed shoes.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Sailors Farewell, 1785

The Sailor's Farewell, Henry Hudson, 5 November 1785, National Maritime Museum.

The familiar trope of the sailor's farewell is illustrated here once again. This piece is notable for being one of the few to portray a sailor as a fatherly figure, not unlike a Rowlandson piece I've examined here before.

The sailor in the center wears a round hat with the brim turned up slightly on each side, and a small metal buckle at the center. His hair is longer than most sailors, though still shorter than most other professions of the time, and hangs loose. The neckcloth is striped and he wears no waistcoat. An unlined jacket is hanging open over his white shirt, and appears to be single breasted with turned back cuffs, rather than the familiar slash cuffs, as on the tar to the left. His striped trousers have a broad fall fly with three large buttons, though the actual material the buttons are made from is unclear. His white stockings, oval buckles, and black leather shoes are all familiar.

Behind our main sailor is an elderly tar, taking the hand of another jack. The old sailor wears a jacket with wide lapels and domed buttons, as well as a white neckcloth and white trousers. Taking his hand is a younger seaman who offers a purse with his opposite hand. His is a round hat set well back on his head, and like his counterpart he wears a white neckcloth. He wears a double breasted jacket and unbuttoned slash cuffs. Leaning over the rail into the boat is a fellow with a round hat, white shirt, and white trousers, breeches, or slops.

In the right background is another sailor bidding farewell to his family. He wears a cap or some sort (possibly a thrum cap), a short jacket that ends at his waist, and either a pair of trousers or slops. The oarsman pushing them off the shore wears a white shirt, round hat and striped trousers.