The banks and boats of the Deben at dusk

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A dreamy set of shots taken at Bawdsey Quay, littered with
fishing boats, tall-masted yachts and tenders. I hope you
find them suitably atmospheric. Click on the thumbnails for
much larger photos

Mouth of Deben Tenders at the mouth of the Deben Mud at the mouth of the Deben

Buoy at the mouth of the Deben

Dusk at the mouth of the Deben Anti tank blocks at the mouth of the Deben

Julie and I are just back from a few days in Suffolk, during which we took some photos, visited grand old churches and spent several very happy hours among the singers and musicians of The Ship at Blaxhall.

If you don’t know it, The Blaxhall Ship, as it always seems to be called, is a fabulous old fashioned singing pub where folks still get together on a Monday afternoon, every third Thursday and at other times announced via the pub’s website. There’s a well recorded history here too – read all about it at the Musical Traditions website.

I dare say more photos will follow…

400 18th and 19th century drawings now at the National Maritime Museum website

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Storm at Mazatlan, Mexico, painted by Admiral Sir Edward Gennys Fanshawe, 1851. As usual, click on the images for a closer look – but expect this one to send a shiver up your spine!

national maritime museum, mutiny on the bounty edward gennys fanshawe schetky, gabriel bray,  website, royal navy,  national maritime museum, mutiny on the bounty edward gennys fanshawe schetky, gabriel bray,  website, royal navy,

Two male figures, one with a large cocked hat and a quizzing glass painted by Gabriel Bray; Ovolu [Ovolau], Feejee Islands painted by Admiral Sir Edward Gennys Fanshawe 1849

A grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation has allowed the National Maritime Museum to make part of its collection of 70,000 prints and drawings available online for the first time.

The newly digitised drawings are mainly by Royal Navy officers in the 18th and 19th centuries, and give a glimpse of tropical islands, exotic cities and indigenous peoples at a time when the ability to draw a landscape was not just a pastime but also a means of intelligence gathering.

Highlights from material recently added to the NMM’s online collection include over 100 working sketches by John Christian Schetky (1778-1874), an album of drawings by Gabriel Bray recording his voyage as second lieutenant of HMS Pallas to West Africa in 1775, and over 100 watercolours from albums by Admiral Sir Edward Gennys Fanshawe (1814-1906), covering his service in the Pacific from 1849-52, in the Baltic during the Crimean War, and in the Mediterranean.

Schetky and Bray’s works are very rare drawings of everyday shipboard life in the age of Cook and Nelson as well as some unique depictions of street-life ashore, while the much less well known Fanshawe was an amateur artist who recorded his varied and distinguished career with a skilled hand in highly finished watercolours.

The journeys Fanshawe depicts include an investigative diplomatic voyage during which he visited Pitcairn, where he met the last survivor of the Bounty mutineers, Susan Young, and heard first hand the account of how she killed the last Tahitian crew member with an axe during the island’s conflict; Fiji, where he drew what are possibly the earliest portraits of Seru Thakombau, founder of the modern state of Fiji; and Samoa, where his drawings of women show the enduring influence of English fashions on their Sunday-best costume.

The prints, along with commentary, can be accessed through the relevant pages of the museum’s website.

Duncan Sclare pours 19ft Gartside cutter keel

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Duncan Sclare pours the lead keel for his 19ft Paul Gartside-designed cutter. Click on the thumbnails for larger images

Duncan Sclare in County Mayo, Ireland has an advantage over many amateur boatbuilders: 30-odd years of experience as a furniture-maker, cabinet-maker, carpenter and joiner. See his website here to see what I mean.

Talented and practical man though he is, I still think the story of how he cast his own lead keel this week is quite something. Here’s what he says:

‘Hi Gavin. Your readers may be interested in my project to build Paul Gartsides cutter design 163. This build is going to take some time as it has to be fitted in around making wardrobes, kitchens and other stuff I do to make a crust. I have been working on it for almost a year now with little to show exept lofting, lists, stacks of timber and so on.

‘Last weekend however work for real started with the casting of the keel. The pictures show the mould made from MDF and softwood and buried it in sand. Just short of 1 tonne of scrap lead was then melted down in an old cast iron bath. This took about three hours, but then the plug was pulled and the molten lead allowed to run into the mould. There was some singeing of timber and my hair, but otherwise it seems to have been successful!

‘The keel now needs shaping up and we can start to add the oak timbers on top. It will be great to get into some woodwork after that messy job!

‘In the background of the picture of the mould shows larch boards (planking) air seasoning and my battered Orkney Strikeliner still used for day trips around our West Coast.

‘I will keep you posted on (slow) progress. BTW, I love the site – great work keep it up. Best wishes, Duncan.’

Wow Duncan. With so much danger and excitement going on, I’m astonished you found time to take the shots! The result looks excellent, by the way 😉

See Duncan’s striking photos of Inishkea in an earlier intheboatshed.net post.

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