Sea History 085 - Summer 1998

Page 42

MARINE ART NEWS Aubrey's World in Art Patrick O ' Brian 's Aubrey/Maturin series has probabl y intrnd uced more people to the challenge and fasc inati on of our maritime heritage than any other author of recent times. Hi s tales, now numbering 18 , about the British nava l officer and the ship 's surgeon/ intelli gence agent in the earl y 1800s bring vibrancy and accessibility to maritime history and have sent many aficionadoes and new readers out to buy accompanying dictionaries, atlases, recipe books and CDs. O ' Brian immerses hi s readers in the labyrinthine po litics and protocol of the British Navy as hi s characters trave l the seas of the world , cele brating life through food , music, romance and sc ientific inquiry, battling Napo leon as they go. " Aubrey 's World," a new exhibit at the Seamen 's Church Institute of New York and ew Jersey, brings together ori g inal paintings by 20 lead ing contem porary maritime arti sts, including Geoff Hunt (the cover illustrator of 0 ' Bri an 's books), Don Demers, Tim Thompson and Mark M yers. Contemporary nav igational instruments and ship mode ls of Napoleon 's barge, the Xebec fri gate Indiscreet and the French ship-of-the-l ine Le Conquerant add three-dimensional interest to the art exhibit. The exhib it ru ns from 22 May 1998 to 30 Apri I 1999. (SCI, 241 Water Street, New York NY 10038 ; 2 12 349-9090)

Geoff Hunt' s painting brings together vessels from different stages of Captain Jack Aubrey's career in the Royal Navy . At right is the 14-gun brig-sloop Sophi e of 1801, his first independent command. The large ship in the leftforegrou nd is the 28-gun frigate Surprise, aboard which Aubrey had so many adventures. In the middle distance looms the 74-gun Bellona, while the ship at far left is the 50-gun Leopard , lagging behind as 50-gun ships were prone to do. All these vessels had a real existence in the Royal Navy under those names, except the Sophie, which, though closely based on Lord Cochrane' s Speedy, has a raised quarter-deck the prototype lacked. The vessels carry the appropriate flag for their respective stages in Aubrey's career. The setting is the M editerranean, scene of many Aubrey triumphs.

NEW EXHIBITIO NS • Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museu m: from 5 June, "Monsters, Myths & Maidens: Watermen and their Wo rkboat Carvings" (Mill St., PO Box 636, St. Michaels MD 21663; 4 10 745-2916; FAX 410 745-6088) • Kirsten Galler y: 28 June-16 August, Voyages & Discoveries: Paintings by Mark Myers (5320 Roosevelt Way, E, Seattle WA 98105; 206 522-2011) • New Yo rk State Histor ical Association: 13 June-20 September, "The Bard Brothers: Painting America Under Steam and Sai l" (Fen imore House, Lake Road, PO Box 800, Cooperstown NY 13326; 607 547-2533) • Seamen's C hurch Institute: 22 May 1998-30 Apri l 1999, " Aubrey 's World: Contemporary Artists Portray Patrick O'Brian's Scenes" (241 Water St., New York NY 10038; 212 349-9090) • Ventura County Ma ri ti me M useum : 1-29 August, Annual Ship Model Expo & Sale (Channel Islands Harbor, 2731 S. Victoria Ave., Oxnard CA 93035; 805 984-6260; FAX: 805 984-5970) Figureheads carvedfor the practical, hardworking Chesapeake Bay skipjacks and bug eyes were, and are, surprisingly elaborate. The carvings make these local vessels distinct from other American work boats and show strong connections to the region' s maritime pastas well as the captain' s pride in his boat. "Monsters , Myths & Maidens" at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum e,1plores the history behind adornmems, such as this masrhead from rhe bugeye Lottie Thomas. (Pharo: Maryland Hisrorical Society)




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