#476 theoldmortuary ponders

Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach- W. Stanhope-Fores 1885. The Box, Plymouth

The Museum where I work has had a spring refresh, lovely new exhibitions for people to enjoy in early 2023. I have loved this painting since I was a young and not because I lived anywhere near the West Country. I must have seen it when a Newlyn School Exhibition came to London in the seventies. This painting is part of the Plymouth Permanent Collection. Obviously it goes off on its travels around the world, but for now it is hanging on the wall of its home gallery. Home is the link to the other picture in this blog. Unlike Fish Sale this one is completely unknown to me and the artist who painted it is not credited. The painting is of the Sir John Hawkins Boatyard in about 1830 The boatyard was demolished in 1962 and I walk on the same location most days. The boats are much smaller and somewhere in the background is the plot of land our house would be built on later in the same century.

The church in the picture was damaged and later demolished in the second world war but the grey building on the horizon still exists. I don’t think I have ever lived in the background of an oil painting before. I buy coffee and bread from behind the boat with the flags. The boats I look out while enjoying my coffee are not quite so fancy. The built environment is hugely changed, but the winter sunsets for all who worked in those dockyards would have been a lot like this.

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