Following a visit to the new wine museum at Broze near Gaillac (opening April 2014) I found myself at the top of the river Tarn.
The port of Gaillac is the port at the head of the navigable Tarn, second fastest flowing river in Europe and as big as the Thames, the town consequently gives its name to this district of the Tarn and the local wines ‘Gaillac’.
Last year I looked at the possibility of making a painting of the old port of Gaillac, an historical reconstruction similar to my ‘Port of Chester 1863‘.
We have only a few copies left having sold 90 copies on the preview night another 30 during the week after and many more since, most of them framed.
By 1850 some 241 vessels were registered at Gaillac.
The barges were occupied taking products of the region, grains fresh foods, timber, charcoal, dyes and including wines to Bordeaux for onward shipment.
During the 17 th and 18 th century the port of Bordeaux was the busiest port in Europe.
The traffic rapidly declined from 1852 following the arrival of a steam powered railway.
Despite considerable local enthusiasm for the project very little practical help was forthcoming.
Unfortunately my French while passable is not good enough for research in archives or for chasing down leads in private collections.
Today all that has changed.
This means I shall have to return to the Tarn in December, God alone knows were I will live, I certainly don’t.
The challenge won’t be a picnic, I do know this new painting of Gaillac Quay is going to be something very special!