Friday, September 23, 2005

The Sailors Return

The Sailors Return engraving by C. Mosley mid-to-late 1700s

Maritime Art Greenwich has an essays section and this image (I can't find or work out what publication it's from - does anyone know?*) appears alongside Geoff Quilley's excellent read: The Image of the Ordinary Seaman in the 18th Century.

We are told that the accompanying verse clarifies the scene depicted. The sailor's sweetheart, in her enthusiasm to see her beau again, drops and breaks some eggs - an allusion to her loss of virtue during his absence. Her mother with 'The wealthy Chest, on which she plac'd her hopes, And for the Richest Prizes careful Gropes'. Note too the further vulgar tone of the scene with whoring in the background and vomit cascading down from yon' window. Good times.
Addit: *I don't rule out ignorance on my part - it may have been produced as a single work without publication of course.


Anonymous said...

My guess is it would have been sold as an single-sheet print, or perhaps paired with the same artist's Sailor's Farewell. It looks like Mosley was active ca 1737-56: a contemporary of Hogarth's.

peacay said...

Yeah, Mosley actually did the engraving/etching for at least one of Hogarths paper prints - I love the Tate interface for zooming.

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