Saturday, April 25, 2015

Print, 1784

Print, Samuel Ireland, 1784, British Museum.

Ireland's piece may more properly be called a sketch than a print. It shares in a cliche of political cartoons that include common sailors: that of a common tar engaging with the stereotypical figures of a Dutchman and Spaniard.

The sailor wears a cocked hat with the point forward, His single breasted jacket ends at the waist, and appears to be lined in a lighter material. Lacking a waistcoat, we can see his plain shirt and plain neckcloth. Close fitting, long legged trousers run to just above his ankles and fit fairly close to the leg, with a broad fall fly. Pointed toe shoes finish his slop clothes. In the sailor's left hand is some difficult to identify accessory. It might be a tankard, or perhaps a sand glass, which was commonly paired with images of death at the time as a memento mori. Any thoughts?

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