HMS Racehorse Further reading

One of The Nelson and Trafalgar Collection

Racehorse progress 08.11.17

Racehorse progress 08.11.17

HMS Racehorse, painting bGordon Frickers, if you are looking for the best in marine art, you have found it here:  75 x 100 cms (29.5″ x 39″), Oils, available.

T: + 44 (0)1865 52 2435  Mobile 00 33 (0) 6 10 66 19 26 or Skype ‘gordonfrickers’

  • If you are interested in a print of this new painting, declare your interest, it might get you a pre publication discount

The charm of this page, besides giving you an opportunity to buy this splendid painting, is that it offers a remarkable insight into how this painting, already my most viewed on Facebook and being called a masterpiece, was created.

At the stage shown here, many details remain outstanding.

The most noticeable being the foremast has no shrouds (yet) and the ship has no anchors.

I am very fortunate to be working with  Peter Goodwin, one of the foremost authorities so can consult with Mr. Goodwin about any details where exact information is obscure.

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Insight, working notes about this painting:

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The following brief list, a page from a notebook written while in conversation with the distinguished naval author Mr. Peter Goodwin,  will be gobbledegook to landsmen however, it’s charm is expressed in the obvious care and passion for fine detail where appropriate, with this one begins to appreciate why the M D of Rochay Elite said upon viewing “The Nelson and Trafalgar Collection” at the Trafalgar Soiree (Army & Navy Club, St James, Pall Mall, London) “The new Turner”.

Racehorse progress, detail 08.11.17

gammoning, add preventer gammoning, man working other side, three turns in place, coil on deck, his arm over bowsprit.

Mast colours, varnished

Fish davit, add span shackle to deck f’ard of Belfery, block to be same size as davit.

Add main topmast stays’l and rigging.

Add steering sail irons to tops’l spares, ditto lower yards plus varnished booms.

Commission pennant, tied to pt side shroud, 15 ‘, frayed end.

Man aloft on d shrouds, fore topmast, checking topsail lifts, check where block hanging from cross trees.

Cross trees slightly larger.

Sharpen up topmast capping (square shapes.

Show two anchors pt side

Add spritsail yard (37’ 1 1/2 “) & rigging, sail harbour stowed.

Double size of speaking trumpet.

Tackle for mainstay for boats made good on a ringbolt midships.

One crew member with Black face, representing Gustav Weston, man with rope on fore deck

St’bd inboard bulwarks dull red not blue.

Cat head double block with a tight line on hook securing it to a knight head or shroud.

Chimney? Maybe if it shows, a stump, sealed.

Add reef tackle pennants for topsails

Add Fore mast shrouds, backstays, braces, tacks and sheets, etc

Add topping lift for gaff.

09.11.2017, Insight some observations, direct from notes written to Mr. P. Goodwin, creating a classic marine painting.

There is now a mate near the two helmsmen.

I found and have fitted the binnacle, it’s a very tiny detail aft the Mizzen mast, for’ard of the wheel.

Olaudah Equiano / Gustav Weston is included on the foredeck as one of the men abaft the mast. I’m thinking of moving him to a more prominent position so it’s more obvious a ‘black’ face is present.

Belfry added,

 

Outstanding:

Main yard studding sail booms. None shown on the illustrations I have however one does look to have the outer irons fitted. If you wish me to add the booms, do you recommend they would have been varnished?

anchors: Broken anchor stock, you mentioned this so I’ve not yet included anchors. Should I show 1 or two anchors pt side?

Foremast shrouds and all mast backstays

Braces ~ these have me a bit perplexed. Main yard no problem, the others… The arrangement for topsails and fore coarse are not as per the 1859 brig I sailed on. So far I’ve not found a satisfactory illustration in Lee’s book or others for a small ship circa 1777.

Intended, more attention to the Swedish brig and a bit more to the sea.

Commission pennant, as a warship, would she have been flying one in the circumstances we are showing?

 

Racehorse progress, 30.10.17

Racehorse progress, 30.10.17

Painting By Gordon Frickers, a marine art,  75 x 100 cms (29.5″ x 39″), Oils, available.

As I write today 01.11.2017, so far, no one has seen the actual painting here except me.

This makes me nervous.

I find myself quite surprise my Nelson and Trafalgar paintings continue to attract attention.

I’m now more aware, the public interest in Nelson and Trafalgar, their fame will echo down history for at least as long and there is a western civilisation.

I was slow to realise my authoritative ‘Nelson and Trafalgar Collection’ have become a widely admired, significant part of that story.

Nor until recently did I fully appreciate how my very varied experiences and connections have combined to give this and the other paintings in this series an unsurpassed aura.

My experiences as a youth with some of the very last British sailors to trade by sail without engines and many others combined to prepare me in a most extraordinary way for my task as Official Artist to HMS Victory in preparation for the 200 th anniversary for Trafalgar.

Upon this events I visiting many places and archives in England, France and Spain, carrying a magic letter of introduction from HMS Victory‘s then commander Mike Cheshire.

Many people very willingly assisted my research, some sadly are no longer with us; it was an unrepeatable period, just as I now realise how special and unrepeatable those paintings really are. “The Nelson and Trafalgar Collection” to which HMS Racehorse is being added.

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Racehorse progress 06.10.17

Racehorse progress 06.10.17

 

This page is at present a collection of half edited notes, I hope you can enjoy it enjoy for what it is and see the potential here.

This painting is conceived as closely as possible, from the ship’s log book, mid to late afternoon, 17 th September 1777.

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This painting is available, Contact Us

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With author Peter Goodwin

With author Peter Goodwin

HMS Racehorse, this ship was sometimes documented as ‘Race Horse‘.

Originally built at Nantes as a French privateer (Lettre de Marque), she was known to James Cook (present at the siege and taking of Quebec) and to ‘a young gentleman’ who ‘blagged’ his way onto the two ships that made up the Royal Navy’s carefully prepared first expedition into the Arctic, the young man in question was Horatio Nelson.

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Report for the day 27.09.2017:
 
How Racehorse was painted
You can follow the development here of in easy stages of quite noticeable changes to the new ‘HMS Racehorse‘ painting.
My aim is to encourage viewers to use their imagination, to feel and sense the scene rather than have every dot on place, every ‘t’ neatly crossed.
The trick is to blend that with technical and historical accuracy without paying out to little or to much cable.
Can I achieve that?
I try.
Racehorse sketches 31.03.17

Racehorse sketches 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 1 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 1 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 2 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 2 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 3 31.03.17

Racehorse sketch 3 31.03.17 ~ this sketch has been sold.

While some of my paintings have been valued at £45,000., I am quite happy to release sketches like this one for as little as £100. if I’m assure they will go to a good home.

Racehorse, a new painting being developed in conjunction with Peter Goodwin who previously in his distinguished career, was “Keeper and Curator of HMS Victory for 14 years, was a technical adviser for the film “Master & Commander”, is author of some 17 ‘naval books’, a most excellent thorough researcher and all round good win value.

To acquire or commission a similar painting

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T: + 44 (0)1865 52 2435  Mobile 00 33 (0) 6 10 66 19 26

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Racehorse sketches (2) 31.03.2017

Racehorse sketches (2) 31.03.2017

Exploring Racehorse sketches 31.03.2017

Exploring Racehorse sketches 31.03.2017

Exploring Racehorse sketches (2) 31.03.2017

Exploring Racehorse sketches (2) 31.03.2017

Here, Peter is pushing me hard, no bad thing, we had another hour plus conversation yesterday by phone , mostly about the steering and anchoring equipment used by Racehorse.

HMS Racehorse, preparatory sketch

HMS Racehorse, preparatory sketch

In both instances I was surprised and duly educated.

In the process not really relevant but fun and one never knows where it will lead, Peter described how he fired cannons and from aloft and a musket (he owns one). Peter is fun and immensely knowledgeable, I feel privileged to work with a great authority, Peter.

Racehorse sketch 09.05.17

Racehorse sketch 09.05.17

In turn Peter has said he is very pleased with the way our experiences overlap, generating a rather special painting.

Racehorse Sketch 11.06.17 IMG_0331

Racehorse Sketch 11.06.17 IMG_0331

Racehorse Sketch 11.06.17 IMG_0360

Racehorse Sketch 11.06.17 IMG_0360

Following his invitation to visit and stay at his home in Portsmouth, author Peter Goodwin and I worked together to develop his ideas for the new painting.

I’d prepared some concept sketches, possibilities explore, from which we developed a drawing which would form the basis of the new painting.

Peter Goodwin, Captain Jack Sparrow and Gordon Frickers...

Peter Goodwin, Captain Jack Sparrow and Gordon Frickers…

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Racehorse 01.08.17

Racehorse 01.08.17

Dated 10.09.2017, this follows a lengthy discussion with author and historic ships authority Peter Goodwin and a good few hours solid effort on my part.

I’m spelling as  ‘Racehorse‘ because that is the spelling used on the official drafts and recommend by historian Peter Goodwin who is currently writing a book about the Royal Navy’s first North polar expedition, voyage of Racehorse and Carcass to the Arctic circle.

Peter has decided it’s fun working on the painting with me and has suggested a booklet on the story of the Racehorse painting.
The ship’s hull is much changed, the basic shape is near correct, many other changes.

 08.08.2017 ~ Big change to the composition:
The major change to composition was decided for several reasons.
To show her starboard side meant the sail would mask most of her decks thus hiding what would be interesting accurate details and by showing her port side we are looking from the East by North East to the South West so the lighting and colours offer me more possibilities.

Today I’ll refine ‘Racehorse‘ and begin to sort out her masts, spars and sails, all info from the log book and the combined sea & ship building experience of Peter Goodwin and I.

Racehorse 09.08.17

Racehorse 09.08.17

Racehorse progress 27.09.17

Racehorse progress 27.09.17

Today, 08.08.2017,  I’ll refine ‘Racehorse‘ and begin to sort out her masts, spars and sails, all info from the log book and the combined sea & ship building experience of Peter Goodwin and I.

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

The Swedish brig on the horizon, we know Racehorse spoke with a Swedish brig earlier that day, we even know where she was bound and her course steered.

Here she looks unrecognisable when close up.

Yet mysteriously, when seen from normal viewing distance looks very much like a distant brig in turbulent weather.

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

 
At this stage I am now fairly happy with the basic dimensions of the hull, spars and sails.
I’ve had to alter the mast rakes, they were raked to far aft.
In turn that meant altering all the yards and sails except the stays’l.
The mast and spar dimensions Peter Goodwin sent were very helpful for improving the scale and perspective.

Her sails included a main trysail, standing jib, middle jib.

She set a bowsprit, job boom and outer jib boom, the latter was routinely derigged for heavy weather.

Source, ship’s log, 25 October 1777

Possibly the most obvious change is the jib boom (37 ‘) now notably shorter in the painting; easy to lengthen if we think longer looks better.

With Peter Goodwin and Captain Jack Sparrow

With Peter Goodwin and Captain Jack Sparrow

I noticed shorter was appropriate when checking the spar dimensions ~ and it does fit in well with Peter Goodwin mentioning to me the record shows she has a flying jib boom to further extend the rig in lighter airs;  which would have been struck inboard before a storm.
I wonder where it was stowed and if it survived the deluge that smashed most of the boats…
I expect to make further refinement.
Usually as I begin to add more detail I work out from the centre.
That way errors reveal themselves naturally and are easy to correct.
I have made a number of changes to the sky but left is basically as was.
It had been my intention to work over the entire sky however, visitors during August were so enthusiastic about the sky I’ve left it as is for now.
My intention is to suggest the main light source is on our left, much modified by the storm.
As Peter Goodwin agreed, to avoid making the scene to scary for landlubbers, I’m aiming to show the weather clearing.
As mentioned, I had in mind a sky similar to “I Have Urgent Dispatches” however given the different location, month and sea state, our sky has taken on a very different appearance to “I Have Urgent Dispatches”, very much its own creature.
I suppose, being a submariner Peter Goodwin didn’t see much of the sea and sky… trust me, I have.
The Swedish brig looks unrecognisable when close up and yet mysteriously, when seen from normal viewing distance looks very much like a distant brig in turbulent weather.
I hope you like that?
I do.
One of the things I try to achieve is a strong sense of emotion,  and as we know, in reality there is a difference between what we see, what we feel and what we know is there.
I see that as a trap and an opportunity.
What I do not want to do is so over detail my paintings that they become the sort of picture that used to be so fashionable on chocolate boxes.
An illusion of detail, yes, always a puzzle too, mysteries that you are invited to ponder, which like good poetry, mean different things to each individual.
My aim is to encourage viewers to use their imagination, to feel and sense the scene rather than have every dot on place, every ‘t’ neatly crossed.
The trick is to blend that with technical and historical accuracy without paying out to little or to much cable.
Can I achieve that?
I try.
There is still a lot I wish to do to the sea besides the obvious colouring and texture.

I’ve been using a knife for the sea in the foreground and plan to phase the paint textures towards the horizon so that should make a pleasing contrast with the sky.

At this point I made what felt like a hard decision, for several reasons, to reverse the composition, undoing and covering much of the previous work.

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Racehorse, detail, progress 27.09.17

Good news includes the first indications of the cross sea are appearing, the main swell being from the West, with a confused NW topping, and Racehorse is beginning to look as if she is afloat in her element.
There is rather a lot of wet paint so over the next few days I’ll only work on parts easily accessible, the bow area for one.
I’ll check up on the crew, make sure they are where we want them and doing the tasks we have allotted them.
We will also have to make a decision re the surviving boats, where were they most likely lashed in the waist.
I guess those that survived were the least exposed when the seas climbed on board?
 
Racehorse 10.08.17

Racehorse 10.08.17

 

Racehorse 09.08.17

Racehorse 09.08.17

 
 

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Racehorse 07.08.17

Racehorse 07.08.17

HMS Racehorse, painting bGordon Frickers, if you are looking for the best in marine art, you have found it here:  75 x 100 cms (29.5″ x 39″), Oils, available.

T: + 44 (0)1865 52 2435  Mobile 00 33 (0) 6 10 66 19 26 or Skype ‘gordonfrickers’

  • If you are interested in a print of this new painting, declare your interest, it might get you a pre publication discount

Contact Us

T: + 44 (0)1865 52 2435  Mobile 00 33 (0) 6 10 66 19 26

or Skype ‘gordonfrickers’

Email: artistfrickers at gmail.com

 Simply, securely;  to place a deposit or payment on our Payment page  to make this or a similar painting, your Gordon Frickers original painting (or acquire subject to availability, a beautiful Heritage quality print)?

Copyright 2017:

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Gordon Frickers 08,08,2017 © updated 11.10.2017, 01.11.2017, 09.11.2017, 12.11.2017, 17.11.2017

Gordon Frickers, the only artist member of British Marine

Gordon Frickers, the only artist member of British Marine

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