Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fundy Shipwrecks

Rounding out the selection of prints of my paintings are a half dozen shipwreck paintings.  Now this might seem an odd choice to feature at the Grand Manan Christmas Market (day after tomorrow), but they certainly do convey the sense of the power of the sea, and people do find that fascinating.  And I admit a bias toward the subject of shipwrecks, having visited and studied them under water when I was much younger.

The first shipwreck (the earliest one) is a schooner that was capsized in a terrific Bay of Fundy gale on New Year's Eve in 1819.  The masts broke off and the hull came back upright again.  All the crew were lost but the Captain, who managed to rig a makeshift sail on the stump of the foremast and reach the Nova Scotia shore, demonstrating an enormous amount of the quality for which the schooner was named - "Perseverance":



At the northern end of Grand Manan Island is a rugged cliff where a dramatic shipwreck story unfolded in a January snowstorm in January, 1857.  Twenty-one men perished, but eight survived the ordeal.  The headland was since named for the barque that was wrecked there - "Lord Ashburton":



Schooners were the tractor-trailers of a hundred years ago, carrying freight of all kinds back and forth along our coasts.  Inevitably, in fact almost weekly, some were blown ashore - "Stranded":



Gypsum mined in the Windsor area of Nova Scotia was transported in barges to New York to make plaster for house construction in the eastern US.  One of the ocean goin tugs built in New York to tow these gypsum barges wound up stranded on the St. Mary Ledge, the outermost of the Murr Ledges, off Grand Manan, under curious circumstances in January 1906; the tug "Gypsum King":



In October, 1909, a cargo steamer coming across the Atlantic to Saint John piled up one stormy night on the treacherous Old Proprietor Ledge, off Grand Manan.  35 lives were lost; six of the crew stayed with the ship and were later rescued by life savers from Seal Cove.  The painting depicts the rescue of the remnants of the crew of the "Hestia":



A Norwegian owned steamer got off course in a December storm in 1936 and ran ashore on the rocky coast below Lorneville [west of Saint John].  A heroic young Norwegian seaman swam a heavy hawser ashore through raging surf and scrambled up the cliff and secured it to a rock.  The others on the ship tightened the rope and all were able to make it to shore.  The painting depicts what I think the ship might have looked like sunk on bottom there the next day; the "Kings County":



The prints of these paintings are available in three different sizes and with three different frame styles, as noted with complete information at ericallaby.com

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