‘O hear us when we cry to thee, For those in peril on the sea’

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The Storm by William Miller

The Storm engraving by William Miller after Van de Velde, published in 1858.
From the Wikimedia

We’re in the midst of yet another storm here in the UK. I might have enjoyed them as a child, but now they set my mind racing, first to worrying about safety on the roads and to property such as houses and boats, and then I start thinking of those at sea, and finally the lifeboat crews who have to go to sea in a storm that’s already raging when they leave the land. It’s enough to stop me sleeping, but in the scheme of things that’s a minor irritation.

Last night I found myself thinking about grandeur and truth of the hymn For Those in Peril on the Sea.

Here are the lyrics complete with written-out music.

Here they are again with a playable midi sample.

Here The Daily Telegraph newspaper tells the hymn’s story.

For a little history, read a historical discussion of how Scottish fishermen coped with storms before the days of weather forecasts and also about how storms affected the fishing community at Polperro, Cornwall.

Again, here’s a 19th century story of heroism in the North-East of England.

I’ve also been thinking about the terror of going out onto a big sea in a small open without the benefit of a weather forecast. No doubt that spawned a host of superstitions and the slightly neurotic activity described in the song The Candlelight Fisherman. There’s a joke that some allegedly lazy fishermen wouldn’t go if the flame didn’t blow out, on the grounds that there would be no wind to carry them home, and like most jokes I’m sure it had some grain of truth.

Also, see Out on a Shout, the RNLI’s rescue activities as they happen. In case you’re wondering, there have been a lot of launches in the bad weather of this winter.

I started off by saying that we’re thinking about storms here in the UK, but I’d argue the weather is making many of us think of more than just the weather. Stay safe and stay alive, everyone.

PS – If you get a moment, print out the Miller engravings – on some nice paper, they could be just what you need to hang on your wall!

The Shipwreck, engraving by William Miller after J M W Turner

The Shipwreck engraving by William Miller after JMW Turner, published
as part of a series of 120engravings from Turner’s paintings.
From the Wikimedia

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Smell the Sea, Feel the Breeze exhibition of paintings at Falmouth gallery

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Charles Napier Hemy RA, painting Running for Home

Running for Home by Charles Napier Hemy, one of the paintings
at the Feel the Breeze exhibition. C
lick for full-size image

Charles Napier Hemy RA, painting Running for Home Charles Napier Hemy RA, painting Running for Home Charles Napier Hemy RA, painting Running for Home

The same painting at 1600, 1280 and 1024 pixels across – choose a size for your desktop!

Mike Haywood-Barnabas St Ives fishing boat Jamie Medlin - Pandora

Mike Haywood’s Barnabbas, St Ives fishing boat; and Jamie Medline’s Pandora, will also be on show

This impressive and exciting painting by Charles Napier Hemy RA will be a key exhibit at the Smell The Sea, Feel The Breeze show at Falmouth Art Gallery next month. Certainly I can smell the sea and feel the breeze here, but just look at that sheet – it’s hardly more than inches from gybing in water rough enough to push the little boat around. I hope they get home.

The exhibition aims to capture the variety of water, wind and waves from dramatic sailing adventures in wild waters to paddling in rock pools with Rupert Bear, and is being made possible by the generous sponsorship of TMS Financial Solutions, and Arts & Business South West which funded the additional insurance and the transporting of valuable works by distinguished Cornwall artists such as Henry Scott Tuke RA, Charles Napier Hemy RA, William Ayerst Ingram, Frank Jameson, Mike Haywood and David Hills.

Important loans from the Royal Society of Marine Artists Diploma Collection have been made available through the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Work by one of Britain’s greatest abstract painters, Sir Terry Frost, is also being made available through private collections. Sir Terry’s career spanned seven decades, starting with his introduction to art in a prisoner-of-war camp. The featured works drew inspiration in Cornwall from sailing boats bobbing on the tide.

Also showing will be original works by contemporary Falmouth artist Jamie Medlin. Jamie is one of the country’s leading marine artists and is known widely through his prints. He currently paints beautiful classic yachts, and some of the best of these paintings have been borrowed for this exhibition. His art was included in the recent Christie’s sale of Important Maritime Paintings.

Falmouth has a long and proud association with sailing. The packet ships, ocean-going clippers and the coastal trading sailing vessels have long ceased their trade, but Falmouth can still attract major sailing events, from the famous Regatta to the arrival of ‘round the world’ yachtsmen.

The exhibition is mounted to celebrate and promote the Funchal 500 Tall Ships Race, which will be held in September 2008.

A full programme of gallery events has been designed to complement the exhibition, which will include free workshops for babies, children, families, schools and community groups. A full colour brochure sponsored by TMS Financial Solutions will be available priced £4.50.

The exhibition can be seen at Falmouth Art Gallery from 1 March to 26 April 2008, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Admission is free. For more information about activities and education please contact Natalie Rigby on 01326 313863.

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A giant among restorations

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Prepare to be awed! Lulworth is the largest gaff cutter afloat today, with a length of 46.30m (152ft) and a mast as high as a 17-floor apartment block. She is also widely considered to be breathtakingly beautiful – she was described by the great maritime photographer Franco Pace as ‘the last true gem’.

Perhaps she is above all else a magnificent piece of nautical history, as the sole survivor of the Big Class racing yachts from the 1920s, which included Lulworth, the Prince of Wales’ yacht Britannia, Westward, White Heather II and Shamrock.
The Big Class races were spectacular to watch: the boats had deep keels, long overhanging booms and powerful rigs. Around 45 races were organised in the regatta season from late May to early September, and the highlight came in early August when the fleet headed to the Solent for Cowes Week. Wherever they were held around the British Isles, however, Big Class events attracted huge crowds.

Seventy years after her last Big Class race, she was taken to Italy from a mud berth on the River Hamble and brought back to life during five years of restoration aimed at returning the yacht as far as possible to her original condition, based on a set of drawings dating from 1926.

For more on Lulworth and her restoration:
http://www.lulworth.nl

Large posters, framed photos and calendars of Lulworth and other classics from the early 20th century:
http://www.beken.co.uk

The painting of Lulworth battling it out with Britannia below is by marine artist Roger Davies. Roger sells prints of his splendid paintings from his site:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/john.davies3290/index.htm

Roger Davies' painting of Lulworth and the Royal Yacht Britannia