Screen print, gold leaf and acrylic on aluminium
Image 75 x 50cm // Framed 85 x 60cm
GREYHOUND | 9 June 1781
Commissioned in October 1775, Greyhound was built at Buckler's Hard, a hamlet on the banks of the Beaulieu River in the English county of Hampshire. Originally founded as a free port for the trading of sugar, Buckler's Hard flourished as a naval shipbuilding centre and has become famous for building warships for Nelson's Navy, including three vessels that took part in the Battle of Trafalgar.
Greyhound was a full-rigged, modified Mermaid-class frigate with a 24ft long gun-deck, she housed 200 officers and men and had 28 cannons. In coming round the South Head ran ashore, and bulged; the officers and crew saved by the Deal Boats.
The slightly spooky history of the Goodwin Sands has always fascinated me. The sheer number of ships wrecked in this maritime graveyard is astounding.
My work for this exhibition, Wrecked, is a collection of imagined ghost portraits of captains of ships sunk on the sands reimagined as pub signs, a nod to the number of pubs Deal town supported in the past. I found the names of the ships and the date they sank using Lloyds List and gilded them in large letters at the top and bottom of each piece. Using artistic licence, I reworked naval portraits of the time each ship sank, into Warholesque prints – transparent, frayed and ghost-like. I then painted seascapes on aluminium and screen printed each portrait on top the paintings. The works reference both our fascination with the past and the ship as a symbol of economic development and the nation state.
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