Ships spirits, – or what happened next!

Rosa Tacchini

Rosa Tacchini

Ships figureheads were used as religious symbols for protection. Sailors believed that the ship was a living thing, and if it needed to find it’s own way it would need eyes.

This figurehead has been deliberately left unrestored, giving her a ghostly appearance. She was returned to Tresco from the Royal Maritime Museum, she is from an Italian Barque sailing from Buenos Aires to Antwerp in November 1872 with a cargo of hides horns, hooves, tallow and wool. She ran aground off the island and was was wrecked on Tresco Flats

Rosa Tacchini

Rosa Tacchini

Roman Soldier, 19C no provenance, but possibly from a small merchant vessel from the Mediterranean


Roman soldier


Sally Simpkin’s Lament 

Oh! what is that comes gliding in,

And quite in middling haste?
It is the picture of my Jones,
And painted to the waist.

It is not painted to the life,
For where’s the trousers blue?
Oh Jones, my dear! – Oh dear! my Jones,
What is become of you?
– Thomas Hood 19C

Lesser octopus, Anglesey Sea Zoo

Water is a magic medium and re-reading these fun sea shanties by Thomas hood gave me the idea to make small spirit models.  I was studying and drawing fish moving at Anglesey Sea Aquarium from 1996-8

It is more likely that ships would be anchored and sheltering together during a storm. The shock of twisting cables and hulls being pounded on ledges of rocks would be an additional soundscape. A possible rescue? No one knows yet.

Splintered painted woods, floating fragments or hidden events unfolding.

I will leave that to your imagination!

Roman Soldier, 19C no provenance, but possibly from a small merchant vessel from the Mediterranean.Paper and mixed materials collage, Crab environment at Anglesey Sea Zoo


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