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HMS Pickle, a Leading Seaman wrote to me today.

He has in Royal Navy speak been tasked to conduct a presentation on HMS Pickle as part of a command leadership programme to be given to senior officers.  72_dpi_dispatches_with_texts__1_.png

My connection with HMS Pickle goes back a long way and includes a lengthy commission for HMS Victory which resulted in some great pictures (several available as heritage prints from page

Curiously when I was filmed in Nelson’s Great Cabin onboard HMS Victory for the BBC TV programme “The Boats that Built Britain” I found myself being asked by narrator Tom Cunliffe to give a character reference for Pickle’s commander.
See this blog December 5th – http://www.frickers.co.uk/blog/2009/12/05/portsmouth-hms-victory-and-pickle/.

Can you imagine the experience to be on HMS Victory early on a December morning when only Victory’s Royal Navy staff are present? Victory_stb_side_e_IMG_1884.JPG

At 07.30 on a chilly 5th of December 2009 morning I found myself in Nelson’s day cabin being asked about the mind set of the sailors after the battle of Trafalgar and giving a character reference for Lt Lapenotiere of HM Schooner Pickle (he of possibly the most miss pronounced miss spelt name in British naval history) ~ and this was to go on National TV?!
My view is that despite desertions and floggings Lt Lapenotiere was a good commander and very fine seaman.

He commanded a very small very wet vessel that must have been seriously unpleasant in winter and he sailed Pickle in dangerous coastal waters with out misshap, with some élan and some distinction.

How Lt Lapenotiere managed this and his men is a story in its self for another time, maybe. Pickle_detail__men_at_work_d.jpg

One of my best known pictures features Pickle, “I have urgent dispatches“.
If you wish reproduce this image for the purpose of an educational presentation (only) do go ahead, free of charge.
A credit shown with the image mentioning web site and availability of prints would be appreciated, thank you.
The Pickle in “I have urgent dispatches” is after much research including of similar period vessels, models, other paintings and the only illustration probably overseen by her then commander Lt Lapenotiere is considered by some leading authorities as showing her most likely actual appearance.

Available as a heritage edition in print, signed and numbered, the first copy was presented by the officers of HMS Seahawk mess in 2005 to the Princess Royal in appreciation of her assistance with the commemorative voyage, Trafalgar to Falmouth, of the news of Trafalgar and death of Nelson.
Having made a special study which started in 1994 when I was commissioned to paint to raise funds for HMS Victory , of HMS Pickle, I have a considerable amount of information here about HMS Pickle and other vessels of her type.
I am also keenly aware some books and many web sites present info on Pickle as fact and are simply wrong or at best guessing.
Example: in my view Pickle was probably built at or near Plymouth.

Bermuda is often suggested for which I’ve seen no supporting evidence.

I have a huge respect for the achievements of the men of that period, I feel HMS Victory is still visited by their spirit.

I even felt contacts with these formidable men while painting “Trafalgar Dawn” (http://www.frickers.co.uk/marine-art/trafalgar_dawn.html)

That story is mentioned in Trafalgar Dawn, further reading (picture available as a signed edition exclusively from this web site).

You may also like to know I am currently working on 2 new “Pickle” paintings.

I wish my naval friend all the best with his presentation a copy of which would be of great interest.

I like the idea of a Leading Seaman giving a command leadership presentation to senior officers.
In any event I hope he does let us know how he got on and of any funny stories.

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