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The great race, HMS Pickle,

Pickle__approaching_the_Lizard_IMG_3107_1_d.jpg HMS Pickle sailed into history as the ship first with the news of Trafalgar; these paintings are intended to be a companion prints for our well known print of HMS Pickle racing to England.

A number of people said they would like a Pickle picture in calm weather so now we can offer alternatives of the pair.

These originals and sketches are open to offers – and my work needs an agent. Pickle__04.11.05_IMG_3088_1_d.jpgAn example of one of the Pickle sketches as available now: Pickle__Mounts_Bay_IMG_2840_d.JPG

I have urgent dispatches” shows Pickle in heavy weather with the news of Trafalgar and the death of Nelson, has proven very popular and has been much admired. (http://www.frickers.co.uk/marine-art/urgent_dispatches.html).

I have urgent dispatches” remains a best selling print (the original is in London for sale the owners asking £25,000) and appears in several books.

Over subsequent years a number of people asked for a picture of this the most famous of Royal Navy schooners in calm weather hence this new painting.


Pickle, a Plymouth ship on this occasion famously put into Falmouth, seen here at first light, 04.11.05 shaping her course to approach The Lizard.

There are several details here I’ve not seen on any other representation of HMS Pickle which we now know existed; can you spot them???
My intention is to show Pickle on her known course, on the calm hazy November morning of 04.11.05 as she ghosted under full sail plus across the outer Mounts bay shaping her course for The Lizard (Most Southerly point of the British mainland) then onto Falmouth, Cornwall.
We know Pickle regularly patrolled Cornish waters between 1802 and 1805 so would have been ‘known’ to the men of Mounts Bay where it is locally proudly claimed the then sensational Trafalgar news was first announced in England.
Pickle was a Plymouth ship and often worked Cornish waters including fighting several sharp actions with French privateers.
It is in my view contrary to some leading academics that it is quite likely crew members might have recognized and spoken each other.
Possibly even have been family so if Pickle passed close to a group of Mounts bay luggers the Trafalgar news would inevitable have been passed, cousin Jack to cousin Jack.
As one who lived in Cornwall for many years, worked with Cornishmen and sailed Cornish waters it is my conjecture that the story is true and needs these new paintings.

Naturally with a ‘Gordon Frickers’ painting there is a great human story behind this picture and as with I have urgent dispatches it is primarily about the Trafalgar news race and communication then as comparable with now.

However there is more of a tale here… which you may know or I’ll tell given minimum encouragement!


Following very recent research these 2 paintings probably represents HMS Pickle more accurately than any painting since Robert Dodd’s coloured aquatint engraving which may have been supervised by Lt. Lapenotiere.

I have followed your suggestion of again showing the “I have urgent dispatches” signal flying.

I have also sneaked in a St Piran’s cross just in case people don’t recognise St Michael’s Mount and the Cornish coast in the background.

The renowned author Peter Goodwin also generously contributed new research information here.

Much guidance and assistance was freely and generously given researching the Cornish Mounts bay luggers period 1805 shown here which are very much part of this story.

My thanks in particular to Bob Brennan, Mike Hope, Mike Halse, (a Mousehole man), Tony Pawlyn, Professor Jan Pentreath.

I hope you feel I have done justice to the subject and if there are any minor errors please speak out, it is not to late to make changes.

My thanks to you all and I look forward to finding a way of showing you my appreciation.

I would hope that in some form the painting might eventually benefit The Mounts bay Lugger Association.
Mike Hope wrote and kindly gave his permission for the following text to appear here:
As you know there has, and always will be, controversy between Penzance and Falmouth over the “Trafalgar dispatch”; but it is a well known fact that Pickle passed by Mounts Bay, and there are artifacts present in Madron Church and the Union Hotel in Chapel Street Penzance that indicate that a fishing vessel communicated the news first from Pickle to Penzance.
The luggers of West Cornwall changed their rig around the 1840’s from three to two masted.
This new yacht style offered more speed to meet the introduction of the railways in 1853.
The best surviving example of the three masted luggers is a model of Emily on display in the County Museum at Truro; this is illustrated on page 65 of A. S, Oliver’s book “Boats and Boatbuilding in West Cornwall”.
The rigging is also shown on page 17 and of Boy Willie on page 34.
If you can’t locate this little book please let me know.
Another invaluable source is Edgar March’s book “Sailing Drifters”, but I think the former has all the information you require.
The one person who knows absolutely everything about luggers is the historian Tony Pawlyn, a trustee of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall at Falmouthhttp://www.swmaritime.org.uk/contact.php?contactid=17
Another is Professor Jan Pentreath.