Archive for June, 2007
Let’s not sugarcoat it: the following pictures are the 18th/early 19th century equivalent to the magazines your brother used to hide from your parents under the bed. Quick entertainment for the masses, but that’s part of our culture, too. By now it’s art, and those drawings are fun!
Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of the artists, but the drawings were made between 1790 and 1815.
By now you’re probably tired of 18th century caricatures – well, maybe the prospect of naughty ones coming up soon will keep you from running to the hills screaming.
These here are non-naughty, but naval. Hope you’ll like them, the quality is not the best, as I couldn’t scan directly, but I think they’re still fun for you fellow RNotCbees.
Thomas Idle (according to the name on his sea chest!) is sent to sea by his exasperated master, after performing poorly as an apprentice weaver. He has cavalierly tossed his apprenticeship agreement into the ocean. His mother wipes away her tears while two other men jeer at him. One points towards a gallows on the shore where a corpse hangs and the other dangles a miniature cat-o’-nine-tails to indicate that he’s in for a whipping if he misbehaves on the ship. Unrepentant, Tom mockingly responds to their warnings by making the sign of the horns, the symbol of cuckoldry. Below the illustration, a Biblical quotation in a medallion comments on the scene, an excerpt from Proverbs 10:1, “A foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.”
DICK DOCK, OR THE LOBSTER AND THE CRAB
Confrontation between two old sailors outdoor table of a tavern overlooking the port of Greenwich on the Thames River. Dick Dock, a wild-eyed man with a wooden leg, begins a drunken rant taunting a stranger about his maimed hand. The other man, Old Hannibal, replies that if he’s a lobster, Dock’s a crab, and that a man with a missing leg has some nerve spouting such insults. On hearing the name Old Hannibal, Dick Dock instantly regrets his words, realizing this is the man who had plunged into the water and rescued him from marauding sharks, who in the process tore at his arm. Hannibal, in turn, realizes that Dock is the man who successfully pleaded on his behalf to the enemy French sailors who boarded the ship in the aftermath of the shark incident. The two old sailors make up and end by toasting King George and Britain.
ADMIRAL NELSON RECREATING WITH HIS BRAVE TARS AFTER THE GLORIOUS BATTLE OF THE NILE
This is supposed to be a “realistic” portray of the party aboard Nelson’s ship after the Battle of the Nile. I think it’s very obvious dear Nelson already had a glass or two too many… I love it!
A typical day ashore… have a look at the many details, they will answer the question “… and what were sailors doing during shore leave…?”
So far for the naval goodies, off to scan the naughties now.
You might remember this recent entry about punishment for sodomy in the Royal Navy, with an excerpt from Graham Moore’s journal. Unfortunately, one page with probably interesting content was missing from the diary.
Now I’ve found another excerpt, in which Moore admits that he knowingly went against the law in another case:
“(…) Yesterday I did what I had no right to do, in flogging and turning a seaman ashore, who had acted in a manner disgraceful to the character of an Englishman. I must either have acted as I did, or taken the fellow round to be tried by Court Martial; it was impossible for him to remain in the ship after it. The horror and indignation which our countrymen have for attempts of that nature could not brook such a man remaining amongst them. Besides I am of opinion that morality suffers by such practices becoming notorious. (…)”
Now we’ve discussed the way the RN handled punishment for sodomy before; and very often, there was “milder punishment” (by their standards!) than having someone brought to court martial out of fear for the reputation of the ship etc. Here, Moore’s main worry seemed to be the fate of the seaman in question, though.
Moore was a man of very strong values (there is one entry in his journal where he admits being disgusted by a bunch of fellow officers who talked disparagingly about William Wilberforce, who he admired), who took care of his crew and refused to punish anybody without checking all the facts first (getting into trouble with his first lieutenant, who was of the opinion that an officer was always right, even if he wasn’t). The careful way he has worded the excerpt above – please note “the horror and indignation which our countrymen have…” – not “I”, no personal expression of disgust – leads me to think that he was also one of those officers who considered theft, fighting etc. greater dangers to ship and crew than a case of buggery.
Add to that the high regard he held his crew in: later on in the same entry he remarks on “the common seamen” that
“(…) if they were totally free from the vices and follies which so often lead them into scrapes, some of their peculiar excellencies would quit them at the same time; I believe that the same carelessness of their persons which makes them sell their clothes makes them patient of cold and wet. Having their swing ashore, and throwing away their money on whores, fiddlers and grog drives them to sea again; and the prospect of another such swagger makes them prefer foreign service that they may have a good haul of money at once.
I have a set of famous fellows on this little bum boat, if the Admiral takes any of them from me he will break my heart. (…)”
OK, I admit it. The last sentence made me say “awwww…”. I’m turning into a terrible sap!
LJ is still not delivering notification mails. This will delay my replies as I have to track you fellows down through my entries. Sorry!
What fantastic work! Mrs. Thompson is a real artist… I’m sitting on my hands here so I won’t send her a mail and buy the lads (and if there wasn’t a big major giant vet bill coming soon for Fluke, I’d probably do it, anyway, but 25 year old cats come before dolls, even dolls as adorable as those two).
Isn’t that amazing! I wonder if she’d make a lieutenant with red hair…
Have a look around her website, there are wonderful things to see (and buy!) -
Maybe I should really try to play the lottery…
Edited to add a “huzzah” for the stockings – and look at the details on the breeches and the coats!
I can’t tell from this picture if the gentlemen have pigtails or not (I hope they have, that would be perfection). As the breeches are white, it must be after 1774… good grief. I’m turning into a history geek…
Following my last post recommending CITY OF LAUGHTER – Sex And Satire In Eighteenth-Century London by Vic Gatrell (I’m very certain many of us will always remember Admiral Nelson’s pipe with great fondness), I bring you now two more pictures from the book.
What can we learn from this picture?
1. Don’t fall asleep while a handsome young officer comes for a visit
2. Undressing is highly overrated
3. Cats know how to keep a secret
Usually it’s the sailors who are said to have a girl in every harbour, but as we can see on this picture, the ladies weren’t far behind. Waving a tearful farewell to her lover who’s leaving with the fleet, she’s already copulating with the next young seaman. And again – partial undressing is enough (with the lack of underwear, it makes sense).
Dogs, so it seems, can keep a secret as well. Woof.
Have fun with it – and a fan with you.
“Ah where & ah where, is my gallant sailor gone?
He’s gone to fight ye Frenchmen, for George upon the Throne
t’loose t’other arm and eye
And left me with the old antiques,
to lay me down and cry.”
Having finished “Frigate Commander” (review to follow), I’ve now started to read my way through
Botanists among you might order this tome for its sheer weight – you could press cactuses with this thingy, trust me. But it’s worth every pound, and I’m not only talking about the price, which, at £35, was rather hefty, but you can currently order it over at Amazon for £18 at the moment. It was the original price as well as weight restrictions by BA which made me order it from Amazon rather than buying it at my beloved Hatchard’s in London. The reason I mention this is because a book like “City Of Laughter” is just made to be sold at a bookshop like Hatchard’s, established in 1797.
Sex, celebrities and gossip are not inventions of our time. Considering the scandals described in this book, and the surprisingly open and loud (and lewd!) way they were dealt with, we can all point, laugh and mock at everybody who tries to tell us that those times were modest. Heh! Modest! Pull the other one…
This is London how many of us might have never imagined it, and certainly never encountered during history lessons – lewd, rude, sexy, scandalous, and through the eyes of the caricaturists, we come to understand how people might have seen their lives back in the late 18th, early 19th century. Royals are dragged through the mud, the daily fights and crimes on London’s street are mercilessly shown, and you’ll find more prostitutes in this book than in the redlight district of Amsterdam.
There are tons of anecdotes, stories and wonderful prints to admire, but for now, I’ll leave you with the Royal Navy – is anybody surprised good old Horatio Nelson makes an appearance…?
LAUNCHING A FRIGATE
Please look at the exploding chimney in the background – the artist was hinting the male reaction to the “launched frigate”. Subtle, wasn’t he!
CATTLE NOT INSURABLE
Now see, that’s what used to happen on the Dauntless while Norrington was away playing Whist with Gov. Swann… “Cattle Not Insurable” shows a boatload of prostitutes being ferried to service the sailors on the ships berthed at Portsmouth.
DIDO, IN DISPAIR
That, ladies and gentlefolks, is Emma Lady Hamilton. At sea, you can see Horatio Nelson’s fleet, and Emma laments: “Ah where & ah where, is my gallant sailor gone? He’s gone to fight ye Frenchmen, for George upon the throne / t’loose t’other arm and eye / And left me with the old antiques, to lay me down and cry.”
The “old antiques” being, of course, her elderly husband, sleeping peacefully in the bed. The book by the window shows a picture of naked Emma in her – eh – less voluptuous days.
Now this one – this one is my favourite. This is such a sly, evil, beastly, NAUGHTY and brilliant piece of art that it should be framed in gold:
MY, WHAT A BIG P- IPE YOU HAVE, HORATIO!
This is a thing of beauty. On the right, you can see Emma Hamilton and Horatio Nelson smoking. Please note the size and the shape of Nelson’s – pipe. Pipe, like totally the pipe! The sourly looking gentleman to the left who has his (very, very small pipe!) lit by a sailor is Lord Hamilton, Emma’s husband. The sailor says to him that his “pipe is too short, ’tis quite worn out, it wants a new life” (heh!).
Emma, on the other hand, tells Nelson: “‘Pho, the old man’s pipe is allways out but yours burns with full vigour.”
Nelson replies: “Yes yes, I’ll give you such a smoke I’ll pour a whole broadside into you.”
Welcome to the modest and decent 18th century, folks!
More to follow, as soon as I’ve stopped laughing my backside off about the – broadside.
When two worlds collide…
There have been some questions, and I have some answers!
“The Purser, The Surgeon, The Captain And His Lieutenant”
will be published in autumn. An earlier release had been planned, as you know, but there has been some delay in the editing, a problem I’m currently trying to solve. I’ll keep you posted!
The price for the book will be between $ 12 and $ 15. I’ll try to keep the price as low as possible, but a self-published book will never come as cheap as one that has been printed a gazillion of times by a big publishing house. It’s just not possible to do this for $ 9.99, sorry! But remember, there will be amazing illustrations by . That’s like chocolate cookies to go with the book!
You won’t have to wait till autumn to read a book of mine, though. There will be another, smaller publication this summer:
LT. SAMUEL BLACKWOOD
More details to follow very soon. All I can tell you so far is that it will be a ghost story set in the 18th century on a ship of the Royal Navy, featuring once again the formidable Lt. Barnett. There will be a love story as well to go with it (of course!) and has contributed the most awesome illustrations ever!
I’m very excited about that project, and net sales of the first week will be donated to a newly founded animal shelter in Serbia.
Both “The Purser, The Surgeon, The Captain And His Lieutenant” and “Lt. Samuel Blackwood” will be published by
“Penny, Dreadful & Tarbottom”
(do I get extra points for that name?)
Mrs. Emma Collingwood’s Website will finally get more content this week; the puzzled looking midshipman on the welcome page is already packing his sea chest…
In other words: huzzah!
Yes, I’m still reading… and I came across a very interesting excerpt from Lt. Graham Moore’s journal regarding the punishment of two seamen who were found to be “guilty of an unnatural crime”.
14 Jan 1788
“(…) I must except two fellows who were guilty of an unnatural crime, and who were detected very soon after the ship was put in commission and were kept in irons upwards of a month and at last punished with a dozen lashes each, they were then put in one of the boats and an opportunity given them to desert which (in consequence of frequent broad hints that such a step would be highly satisfactory to the Officers) they accordingly did. This was a most disagreeable affair, there was no doubt of the fact as they themselves confessed, mutually accusing each other of enticing. Had I been Captain of the ship I would have turned them both ashore. (…)”
Footnote by the author, Tom Wareham: “Unfortunately, a page has been cut from the diary at this point, seemingly just as Moore was about to expand his thoughts on this issue.”
I have to add here that the men were not thrown in a boat and left to die at sea. They were close to the shore. According to the author, it was not uncommon to have men caught breaking AOW 27, 28 or whatever the number currently was, punished and then giving them the chance to “desert” – which saved both parties a lot of trouble and the officers the embarrassing task of writing a detailed report…
“…and of course I shall be then dancing with Davy Jones, to whom, notwithstanding my profound respect, I freely own I would prefer the lady.”
Today the postman really earned his wages! Three books have arrived today, among them “Frigate Commander” by Tom Wareham, which is based on the journals of Lt. (later Captain) Graham Moore (I’ve mentioned the book before). A “unique insight into the life in the Royal Navy in Nelson’s
and Collingwood’s, dammit! era.”
“(…) Moore also had a brief flirtation with Miss ‘F___y Pet__rs’, a great toast in Liverpool’. After spending several days in her company,
I was really a little smitten with her, she is very handsome, seems to have had a pretty good education; and I think she has a tolerable share of understanding.
Perhaps Moore was becoming just a little too intimate. The lauded Miss Pet__rs was suddenly whisked away to the country. (…)”
Now what was it again about the “young bucks of the Navy”…?
And have you ever seen a less successful attempt at protecting somebody’s identity?
I’m curious to learn what exactly constitutes as “tolerable share of understanding”…
Anyway, I’ll review the book soon. For now, here’s the promised scan for you, – click on the small picture for the high-res one.
Btw. he was 28 or 29 on that portrait, it’s not quite clear what year it was created, but the author thinks it was made in honour of Moore’s promotion to Master and Commander. There’s a full-sized picture of the painting, showing the uniform, but unfortunately only in b/w. If you want it, please yell.
So much to read, so little time…
That’s where my money goes:
- Frigate Commander – Tom Wareham
- The Wooden World: Anatomy of the Georgian Navy – N.A.M. Rodger
- The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson – Roger Knight
- Cuthbert Collingwood: The Northumbrian Who Saved the Nation – Andrew Griffin
- City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-century London – Vic [V.A.C.] Gatrell
That’s why the gods made Ramen noodles… and I’m far behind with book recs, I notice. So much to write, so little time. :-/
I foresee a trip to IKEA, a quest for a new bookshelf. Alas, I don’t think I’m in the right mood for blue/yellow at the moment (yes, I DO hold a grudge. Very long. For years.)