Sunday 27 January 2013

Update on the 'Susan Constant'

Work progresses slowly on the Susan Constant

Similarly the Four Poster is taking ages, because there are so many things competing for my time and I have been feeling well below par 

However there is no time limit or target dates, and so I will plod along.

I've bought some great books on what went on in the immediate time following the Susan C and I am discovering the amazing adventures that followed... which include more ships!!!

Thursday 17 January 2013

Susan Constant A Work-in-Progress

I am splitting myself between (a) Drawing the Susan Constant  (b) making a four-poster bed which I started some time ago but stopped for mechanical reasons (my knees and back :0) ) (c) Finishing my novel/thriller, The Othilla Paradigm.

In the real (non-blogoshere) world there have been several remarks that this type of drawing - my Technoart - is not really art. Well in the past I didn't argue, because I normally only drew it for myself and so what other people thought was up to them.  However, now that I'm going public with these ship pictures I accept the criticism, and reply that it probably isn't art! If I wanted to draw the Susan Constant artistically then I would; it would be a simpler and less demanding project. The downside of an artistic drawing is that I would only be adding to the existing corpus of paintings/drawings/photographs of the vessel.

 There is no way that an artist can draw the underwater part of the ship: there are no photographs available. Therefore using the plans, I can construct the whole ship. I can also convert the two dimensional plans into a 'three dimensional' Isometric drawing which  

I can also find out exactly how everything comes together if I draw it from the plans, take for example the masts. I can also share the work of the 16th Century shipwrights - a window on history.

There aren't, I suspect, many artists that can (or can be bothered if they can) to translate 'Sheer Plan' 'Half-body Plans' and understand the 'waterline' layout and then present them as a non-technical drawing that anyone can understand.

At the moment it is a jumble of construction lines, but hopefully you will see the drawing completed soon - it's a very big drawing!

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Jamestown - The Daughters of a Nation

You might have noticed that all the earlier settlers, mentioned in my last two postings here, were men or boys. So what of the women?

One of the first English women to arrive and help provide a home life in the rugged Virginia wilderness was young Anne Burras.

 Anne was the personal maid of Mistress Forrest who came to Jamestown in 1608 to join her husband. Although the fate of Mistress Forrest remains uncertain, that of Anne Burras is well known as her marriage to carpenter John Laydon, three months after her arrival, became the first Jamestown wedding. While Jamestown fought to become a permanent settlement, Anne and John began a struggle to raise a family of four daughters in the new Virginia wilderness. Certainly, Anne and her family began the stabilization process which would eventually spur the colony's growth.

But then there was, Pocahontas, or Matoaka as she was named at birth! Walt Disney, and many Victorian novelists before him, would have us believe that there was a romance between her and John Smith, the leader of the colonists. Although she saved his life at the risk of her own,  there is no evidence of romance and Smith refers to her in his diary as, '...a child of ten years'. 

That she visited the settlers most days and brought them supplies that kept them from starvation in the early months shows she was connected to Smith. The reason for this supposition is that when Smith was badly injured in a gunpowder accident, and he was shipped back to England,  she was told that he was dead, and she stopped visiting the colony.

Pocahontas  married John Rolfe, a tobacco grower, on April 5, 1614, and lived for two years on Rolfe's plantation, Varina Farms which was located across the James River from the new community of  Henricus. They had a child, Thomas Rolfe born on January 30, 1615.

Here is a painting of her baptism, in Virginia, where she was named Rebecca. John stands behind her, whilst her brother sits looking away in disgust! However it brought peace between the 'Indians' and the settlers.

The couple went to England where she was treated as a princess. Pocahontas and Rolfe lived in the suburb of Brentford, Middlesex for some time, as well as at Rolfe's family home at Heacham Hall,  Norfolk.

 In early 1617, John Smith met the couple at a social gathering, and later wrote that when Pocahontas saw him, she covered her head and didn't speak for three hours - she had thought him dead. When she did speak she called him 'Father,' and made him call her 'child'.

In March 1617, Rolfe and Pocahontas boarded a ship to return to Virginia; the ship had only gone as far as  Gravsend on the River Thames when Pocahontas became gravely ill. She was taken ashore and died in John Rolfe's arms the age of twenty-two. It was not known what caused her death, but theories range from  smallpox or pneumonia to tuberculosis.

Pat's mother lived in Gravesend, Kent, by the way. 


 was buried in Saint George's church there, but as that burnt down in 1727, the exact position of her burial is lost.

However, there is a statue there today outside the church of Saint George.

Monday 7 January 2013


Alas ... if it had been left to me, America would have been settled a few weeks later! I got the mizzen (rear) mast totally wrong!! The problem with pen & ink is it is unforgiving... the drawing is ruined!

I'm not going to bore you with technical details, but interpreting the plans of the Susan Constant is not easy. There are mistakes in them. For example it mentions 1/46 in many places and it should be 1/96. The difficulty is increased by the variety of scales used  (1/48, 1/96, 1/192 etc), and lack of detail ... but having said all that, this is what makes the project more interesting and challenging, and keeps most people from attempting it.

So it's back to the drawing board and start again after I post this.

To put some flesh on the bones of the project, here are the photograph my daughter and Carl took of the Susan Constant replica in Jamestown, VA.

Carl and my daughter speak to a ' settler'.

For those interested, here is the passenger and crew lists of 1607:

Adling (or Adding), Henry - Gentleman
Alicock, Jeremy (or Jerome) - Gentleman
Archer, Gabriel - Captain, Gentleman
Asbie, John
Beast, Benjamin - Gentleman
Behethland (or Betheland), Robert - Gentleman
Brinto (or Brinton), Edward - Mason, Soldier
Brookes, Edward - Gentleman
Brookes, John - Gentleman
Browne, Edward - Gentleman
Brumfield, James - Boy
Bruster (or Brewster), William - Gentleman
Buckler, Andrew
Capper, John
Cassen (or Cawsen), George - Laborer
Cassen, Thomas - Laborer
Cassen, William - Laborer
Clovill, Ustis (or Eustace) - Gentleman
Collier, Samuel - Boy
Cooke, Roger - Gentleman
Couper (or Cowper), Thomas - Barber
Crofls, Richard - Gentleman
Waller, John - Gentleman
Dier (Dye), William
Dixon, Richard - Gentleman
Dods, John - Laborer, Soldier
Edward, Ould - Laborer
Emry, Thomas - Carpenter
Fenton, Robert - Gentleman
Flower, George - Gentleman
Ford, Robert - Gentleman
Frith, Richard - Gentleman
Galthorpe, Stephen - Gentleman
Garret, William - Bricklayer
Golding (or Goulding), George - Laborer
Gore, Thomas - Gentleman
Gosnold, Anthony - Gentleman
Gosnoll, Anthony - Gentleman
Gosnold, Bartholomew - Councilor, Captain
Gower, Thomas - Gentleman
Halthrop, Stephen - Gentleman
Harrington, Edward - Gentleman
Herd, John - Bricklayer
Houlgrave, Nicholas - Gentleman
Hunt, Robert - Master, Preacher, Gentleman
Walker, George - Gentleman
Jacob, Thomas - Sergant
JohnsonWilliam - Laborer
Kendall, George - Captain, Councilor
Kingston (or Kinistone), Ellis - Gentleman
Laxton, William - Carpenter
Laydon, John - Laborer, Carpenter
Loue (or Love), William - Tailor, Soldier
Martin, John - Gentleman
Martin, George - Gentleman
Midwinter, Francis - Gentleman
Morish (or Moris), Edward - Gentleman, Corporal
Morton, Mathew - Sailor
Mounslic, Thomas
Mouton, Thomas
Mullon, Richard - Boy
Pecock (or Peacocke), Nathaniel - Boy, Sailor, Soldier
Penington, John - Gentleman
Percy, George - Master, Gentleman
Pickhouse (or Piggase), Bru - Gentleman
Pising, Edward - Carpenter
Powell, Nathaniell - Gentleman
Webbe, Thomas - Gentleman
Profit, Jonas - Sailor, Fisher, Soldier
Ratcliffe, John - Captain, Councilor
Read, James - Blacksmith, Soldier
Robinson, John (or Jehu) - Gentleman
Rods (or Rodes), William - Laborer
Sands, Thomas - Gentleman
Short, John - Gentleman
Simons, Richard - Gentleman
Skot (or Scot), Nicholas - Drummer
Small, Robert - Carpenter
Smethes, William - Gentleman
Smith, John - Captain, Councilor
Snarsbrough, Francis - Gentleman
Stevenson, John - Gentleman
Studley (or Stoodie), Thomas - Gentleman
Tankard, William - Gentleman
Tavin (or Tauin), Henry - Laborer
Throgmorton, Kellam - Gentleman
Todkill, Anas - Soldier
Vnger (or Unger), William - Laborer
White, William - Laborer
Wilkinson, William - Surgeon
Wingfield, Edward Maria - Master, Councilor, President
Wotton, Thomas - Gentleman, Surgeon
A Dutchman
With diverse others, to the number of 105

Mariners and Others Known to Have Been With the Expedition that Established Jamestown on May 15, 1607

Browne, Oluver
Clarke, Charles
Collson, John - Mariner
Cotson, John - Mariner
Crookdeck, John
Deale, Jeremu
Futch, Mathew - Mariner
Genoway, Richard
Godword, Thomas
Jackson, Robert
Markham, Robert
Nellson, Francus
Poole, Jonas
Skunner, Thomas
Turnbrudge (or Turbridge), Thomas
Newport, Christopher - Captain, Councilor
Tundall, Robert - Mariner,
White, Benjamin
There were 144 persons in the expedition including those (105) who remained in Virginia.

Friday 4 January 2013

Susan Constant

My daughter has spent six of the last twelve months in the US with her American boy friend (he's also her boss!). Besides working hard they visited far and wide: from New York to San Francisco and Washington State to Florida. During which time she flirted with hurricane 'Sandy'.

The most emotional time they had (besides the highly charged 'Liberty Bell' visit) was to Jamestown, Virginia. Louise said she had never felt as close to being an American as she did that day. Carl, who is a 110% all-American, found that he had never felt so British as he did that day, which shocked him.

They were so emotionally moved that I decided to make Jamestown, in general, and Susan Constant, in particular, my next project.

For those that are wondering what all this 'emotion' is about, here's the story:

In 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh  founded a settlement on Roanoke Island in a place he named, Virginia (it's now in North Carolina). In the meantime, England found herself at war (nothing new there then!) with the Spanish. Raleigh who was a bit of a pirate, had also introduced tobacco and potatoes to the 'Old World' from the 'New World'. He became a favourite (some say lover) to Elizabeth 1 and played a major part in sailing to fight the Spanish Armada (think Johnny Depp/ Cap'n Jack).

After the war they returned to the New World do discover that all the settlers on Roanoke had vanished; the mystery remains.  

The Virginia Company was formed in England, and they hired three (small by today's standards) ships, Susan Constant (120 tons) Godspeed (40 tons) and Discovery (20 tons). In December 1606 they set sail for the country of Virginia, with 144 colonists, under the command of Christopher Newport - an excellent seaman, navigator and leader. They landed at Chesapeake Bay 26 April 1607. 

105 colonists from the original 144, all men and boys, were left at the new settlement of Jamestown. The others had either died or wanted to return to England. Among those remaining was John Smith, who was in chains following a 'dispute' on-board!

The ships returned to England in May. Leaving the colonists to get in a mess: 36 of them were 'gentlemen' and the others artisans or servants.  The former refused to do work and argued constantly. John Smith emerged as the leader, but was nearly beaten to death on the command of the powerful 'Indian' chief, Powhattan - only the intervention by the chief's daughter, Pocohantas, saved his life.

Here then is the founding of English-speaking America, thirteen years BEFORE the Mayflower and the Puritan Pilgrim Fathers from Plymouth, Devonshire, England.

It can be seen then, that the little known Susan Constant is one of the most important vessels in modern history,

For those that don't know me, I am at heart an English Shipwright, (1953 - 1959). For many recent years I have been restricted to building ships on paper only, using technical drawing and then finishing them off artistically (see Bellona). I never showed these drawings as they were for my own amusement. I was persuaded to show them and they are surprisingly popular. I call them techno-art, and it is a challenge, as it uses both sides of my brain at the same time! The beauty is I can draw the ships accurately from any angle or viewpoint I choose.

As there are no original pictures of her, I would have to draw her from the original plans, and in doing I would produce views that are unique ... and that is enough reason, and reward, to draw them!

I have the plans for the Susan Constant and have began work!

I will keep you updated with Work in Progress and information about the colonists!