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A Swansea pilot boat

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings
Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID BHC1174
Description A portrait of a 19th century Swansea pilot boat shown broadside on to starboard. She is in full sail and her markings ‘S1’ are clearly visible on the sails and bow. Four figures can be seen on board as they sail parallel to the coast of Wales which can be seen in the distance. The second figure in the stern is probably the pilot. Pilot boats were used to transport harbour pilots to and from large ships to help them negotiate the often treacherous coastal waters moving into and out of harbour. Pilots were master mariners, with many years' experience in particular harbours, with extensive knowledge of local geographical, meteorological and tidal conditions. Even today, most harbours require ships over a certain size to take on a pilot when entering or leaving the harbour. The painting is signed ‘H.B Birchall’.
Date made 19th century

Artist/Maker Birchall, H. B.
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on millboard
Measurements Painting: 280 mm x 380 mm x 3 mm
  • A Swansea pilot boat (BHC1174)
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