Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Fruits de mer

Haven’t posted to the Blog for some time as I’ve been away sailing in France. Every two years a sailing event "Semaine du Golfe du Morbihan" takes place in southern Brittany.
The event is for Traditional working and classic sailing boats, this year there was a record entry of 1,500 boats from all over Europe but mainly from France. The French have preserved their maritime history very well by maintaining the skills needed to restore and keep sailing the traditional work boats of the various regions.
Though boats are not usually thought of as art some definitely deserve to be “LA CANCALAISE”is one such boat. She is a replica of "THE PEARL" a lugger from Cancale of 1905. Pearl was a typical boat from the Bay of Mont Saint Michel.

La Cancalaise under full sail, topsails and topgallants!

When John Singer Sargent was 22 (1877) he painted “Oyster Gatherers of Cancale” La Cancalaise would have been the type of boats that the men of Cancale had set off in to fish the grand banks during the summer, thus leaving the woman to fend for themselves by gathering oysters.

Sargent spent the summer painting in Cancale and getting to know the Cancalaise people who he admired for their tenacity in earning a living from the sea. When the men arrived home at the end of the season there might be plenty of money if the fishing had been successful, but a lot of that money would have to go back into the boats for next year. Consequently the women’s earnings from the oysters was very important to the families and Sargent has captured that feeling of community amongst the women.

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