Having combined photos of one of my local pubs on the River Thames and gates to a naval museum in Crete, and given them different blending modes, I saw that the resulting watercolour effect had created a fellow in a tricorn hat in the bottom right-hand corner. This set me on a path towards Nelson and Trafalgar. I added several of my own textures plus one from Deviant Art and overlayed the whole with a contemporary caricature by Thomas Tegg from Wikimedia, ‘Equity or a Sailor’s Prayer before Battle. Anecdote of the Battle of Trafalgar’. This hand-coloured etching is part of the collection at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
National Maritime Museum:
“A post-Trafalgar satire showing a scene of the deck of a British vessel. It offers an unusually adversarial stance taken from the perspective of the lower-deck sailor. With cannon being prepared, the tar is shown on his knees at prayer. At this, one of the officers remarks ‘Why Starboard! how is this at prayers when the enemy is bearing down upon us; are you afraid of them?’ ‘Starboard’ replies ‘Afraid! – NO! I was only praying that the enemy’s shot may be distributed in the same proportion as the prize money, the greatest part among the Officers.’
At one level the print characterizes the tar positively, drawing on stereotypical features attributed to him: his lack of religion, fearlessness, independence and quick wit. However, beneath the joke lies a darker point about the rift between the quarter- and lower decks, above all regarding prize money and wages, which goes back to the 1797 mutinies at Spithead and the Nore."