Jack Aubrey has nothing on these guys

Posted on
Watercolor titled ‘Manoeuvre du Sans-Pareil pour sauver deux prises faits devant Vigo’ by Nicholas Marie Ozanne, ca 1750-1774. (Accession# 1945.02.242/Q 171)

In recent months I’ve learned two amazing tales of deception and daring that thrilled me to no end. Although the events occurred almost two centuries apart (the first in the late 17th century and the second during the American Civil War) the men involved were that rare breed of human male that inspires fictional characters like Jack Aubrey, Horatio Hornblower or my all time favorite Lord Nicholas Ramage (I actually had to remind myself to BREATHE while reading this series!). Since we could all use some excitement in our new stay-at-home-where-nothing-interesting-ever-occurs lives I thought I would pass them along. 

I stumbled across the first story while working on our watercolor rehousing project. The image is a small india wash drawing by Nicolas Marie Ozanne titled Manoeuvre du Sans-Pareil pour sauver deux prises faits devant Vigo [Maneuver of Sans-Pareil to save two prizes taken before Vigo]. The artwork was engraved by Jeanne Francoise Ozanne and published by Yves Marie Le Gouaz in ‘Recueil des combats de Duguay-Trouin’ which is where I learned the story behind the image.   Read more

How Does Your Garden Grow? 

Posted on
Side view of the Pollinator Garden at The Mariners' Museum Park
Side view of the Pollinator Garden at The Mariners’ Museum Park in April, 2020. (Photo credit: Graham King)

It seems these days many communities around the world are passing the time by unearthing and reimagining their lackluster yards, gardens, and other shared green spaces. Whatever your tabula rasa might be, it’s undeniable that gardens offer an approachable avenue to enhance aesthetics and reduce food insecurity in urban centers, and improve human health in numerous ways. Gardening not only connects people with the fertile ground they toil, but also creates links and connections between community members, whether it’s swapping tips, tricks, and plants with neighbors, or being part of a larger network like with the Master Gardeners or Master Naturalists. Even in the Tidewater area, surrounded by brackish water and the threat of hurricanes for six months, luscious gardens are part of our landscape, and we have some beautiful historical gardens in this area to show it! Erica Deale, the Park Stewardship Coordinator, often remarks that The Mariners’ Museum Park is, “one of the most well-planned and well-documented parks that I have ever seen.” The plants, trees, shrubs, and everything in between, were planned out extensively in the 1930s, and many of those plants are still in their original locations!  

Though the planning of the Park was on a larger scale, at The Mariners’ Museum and Park grounds, we are lucky enough to have lovely smaller gardens and beds sprinkled around the grounds, some newer than others, including a beautiful pollinator garden built in October 2019 that has a strong community connection.    Read more

Happy Birthday to The Mariners’ Museum and Park!

Posted on
Courtesy of the Mariners' Museum and Park

Did you know that our most beloved Museum and Park were incorporated, born, let’s say born, on June 2, 1930? We’re old. 90 years old, next week, to be exact! Our body – buildings and grounds – may be a little worn, but they’ve been well taken care of over the years by our loving Museum team. Our inners – our object and living collections – are strong … and maybe growing a bit (our trees are definitely taller!). Our brain – the staff and volunteers – is sharp, and our heart – our fantastic communities, members, donors, and YOU! – could not be stronger, healthier, or more supportive. 

Upon incorporation, our charter stated that we were to be:   Read more

Paper and Water – Friends or Foes?

Posted on
Making paper by hand. The wooden vat contains cotton fibers suspended in water. I am holding a wire mesh mold which was dipped into the vat to pick up some fibers. I am shaking the mold back and forth to get even fiber distribution while the water drains.

We all know that paper isn’t exactly one of the most waterproof materials out there. In fact, water exposure is one of the most common causes of damage to paper objects that I see as a paper conservator. It can cause major issues such as distortion, staining, loss of media, and mold, just to name a few. It’s somewhat counterintuitive, then, that water is a crucial part of many types of conservation treatment. People are often a bit shocked that bathing paper (yes, it’s what it sounds like) is a common practice with positive results! In this post, we will explore a few ways in which water interacts with paper on different levels, how conservators harness and leverage these interactions to treat condition issues, and how, if left unchecked, these interactions can cause major and irreparable damage.

Papermaking – Wet Beginnings

To understand paper’s relationship with water, we have to go back to the beginning – papermaking. True paper is defined as a non-woven mat of fibers formed by draining water from a slurry. The water holds the fibers in a suspension into which a screen called a mold is dipped and drawn upward, allowing the water to drain and the fibers to settle into a layer over the screen. To ensure an even distribution, the mold is shaken back and forth while the water drains, causing many of the fibers to orient in the direction of the movement before coming out of the water. This causes a characteristic called “grain” in a finished piece of paper.   Read more

Pen-skill-der-what?

Posted on
‘Dutch whaling in the arctic.’ Circa 1706 Penschilderij by Adriaen Cornelisz [Van der] Salm (Accession# QO 31)

Penschilderij.  For those of you who read my recent blog post on the wash drawing by the Willem Van de Veldes (https://blog.marinersmuseum.org/2020/04/wanted-one-fae-who-knows-dutch/) you might remember my mention of the elder’s specialized art form of ‘penschilderij’ or ‘pen painting.’ While it’s not by Van de Velde we are lucky enough to have a beautiful little pen painting by Adriaen Cornelisz Salm (he also went by Van Salm and Van der Salm), in the collection. 

The medium of penschilderij was developed in the late 16th or early 17th century. It was born from the efforts of Dutch engraver, publisher and artist Hendrick Goltzius who began drawing with a pen on paper or vellum in order to simulate the characteristics of an engraving.  By the early 17th century Goltzius included drawing on a canvas primed with paint–the forerunner of the pen painting–in his oeuvre.  In his time Goltzius was quite famous so Van de Velde was probably familiar with his artwork and prints.  However, Goltzius only produced three pen paintings during his life so it seems unlikely that Van de Velde was familiar with the medium Goltzius was employing.  Consequently, experts like Rijksmuseum curator Friso Lammertse credit Van de Velde as the “true founding father” of the penschilderij.   Read more