Appledore quay.' Leaving on the tide.'
A limited edition giclee print. 22 x 14.5 inches approximately.
This is Appledore Quay in the twilight days of working sail. The Kathleen and May is under sail and will soon pass over Bideford Bar on the ebbing tide. In most ports in the twenties and thirties sail had been replaced by steam but Kathleen and May and Irene traded from Appledore for many more years, finishing their working lives some thirty years later in the 'sixties.
The trades of shipwright, sail maker and blockmaker carried on in support of these ships, accompanied by the sounds of creaking spars and the clunk of oars in rowlocks, while the evocative smells of Stockholm tar, seaweed and hewn oak lingered over the quay and surrounding shipyards.
The Mary Miller lies moored off the quay while alongside are two local ketches Hobah and Lewisman. An Instow ferry boat is pushing away from the slipway, while a crew sculls out to their waiting ship watched by a lad with his dog, longing for the day when he is old enough to join his Dad at sea.
In 1830 Alexander Beara established a chandler and ironmonger to sustain these ships on the weeks away from home. He stocked oil for the lamps, canvas for the sails and even reefing gear, cast from the same iron from which he also made cooking ranges for the galleys.
The graceful sweep of the original quay has now gone, replaced by wider and stronger structures, but many of those who sailed and watched the ships talk to me as I paint. A grey haired old man recalls his Dad and his dreams as he watched the schooner pass seaward off Appledore Quay. The Kathleen and May still proudly points her graceful bow seawards, watched over by many wishing her fair winds and a safe homecoming.