Tuesday 12 February 2013

Exciting New Poject!!!

I'm really excited over my new project which, like most things I do, just sort of happened. I'll try to explain it simply:

I decided to redraw the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides), which is alive and floating in Boston Harbour

She was central to the birth of the US Navy, as one of the six original ships ordered by President George Washington -all frigates- to be built to protect the US Merchant Fleet.  As you know, I like to research my drawings and in so doing I noticed one of the six frigates was the USS Chesapeake.

It's a small world because the figurehead of the Chesapeake  was on display in the Sheerness Dockyard where I served my apprenticeship as a Shipwright (1954-1959). To make it even more personal, Pat's father used to paint the figurehead once a year, as he did the figurehead of HMS Shannon. The significance is that during the war of American Independence, the Shannon captured the Chesapeake and brought her to England where she was made HMS Chesapeake. But don't  worry my American friends, because Old Ironsides sank and captured lots of British Ships, it wasn't all one-way traffic :0).

One final twist is that the figurehead of Chesapeake was said to be that of  Pocahontas, of whom I was writing a short while ago (below). 

Anyway, I decided to order a book, The Enduring Journey of the USS Chesapeake, by the American writer and Emmy Award winning broadcaster, Chris Dickon.

I was so fired-up that I wanted to draw the Chesapeake there & then, and searched the Internet for plans - nothing! In desperation I wrote to Chris Dickon, suspecting I wouldn't get a reply from such a busy and famous person. I was wrong. Chris, bless him, came back with a long and detailed reply within 24 hours. As a consequence Pat and I are setting out on a four day adventure to Hampshire in the south of England. Chris visited my blog and thought it might be an advantage for me to take part in the The Enduring Journey of the USS Chesapeake...

                   ...for it seems...

... that there is an old flour watermill in Wickam which became derelict and was going to be demolished, but it was saved when they found that huge parts of the building were made from the remains of the Chesapeake!!!!! .......woo! hoo! exciting or what!!!!??? It's now known as the Chesapeake Mill Tea Rooms

The general public are not allowed into the fragile historic part, that houses Chesapeake, but Chris is arranging with Hampshire local government for me to gain access to the remains of the ship, with a view to drawing!!!

We will travel down on March the 17th. Life is so exciting and full of fun!!!!! High 5 everyone!!


  1. I'm high fiving you John. How very exciting for you!

  2. What a magnificent story !!!

    Can't wait to hear how The Chesapeake saga unfolds.

    Pocahontas is, allegedly, buried about half-a-mile from me. Spooky, or what ???

    in Domino.

  3. So nice to hear from you so much enthusiasm!
    You look like a kid, through your joy... contagious!
    I know how to enjoy life with a young heart
    is the secret to a long and happy life!
    Have happy days!

  4. Well, John, I must be somewhat uncouth, and say I am DROOLING WITH ENVY!!!!!

  5. LOVE this post, as always....You have such a zest for life, John and I really look forward to Old Ironsides....
    High 5 John !!!!!

  6. What a story, John - I am so excited for you and know you will love every minute of this adventure! This experience will no doubt add a whole new dimension to your drawing and I can't wait to see it!
    Isn't history fascinating?

  7. High 5 indeed!! Oh how exciting, John! And an auspicious date to travel too (my youngest daughter's 27th birthday!)...Can't wait to hear and see more about this!

  8. Yay! High 5 right back atcha John!
    Lucky you - gaining VIP access!! Fantastic :0)

  9. Wow that is exciting!! Who'd have thought that would happen?! Amazing what happens when you take initiative. How wonderful - I look forward to hearing your account of the time in the historic section of the Inn.

  10. john that's exciting ... have a good trip bet you can't wait to start drawing .

  11. Well it seems now we're both smitten with history. One of the biggest problems when America decided to declare independence was their lack of a disciplined army and a navy big enough and strong enough to go against a nation whose navy ruled the world. You would of thought that at the same time we were plotting independence from Britain, we would have been building a trained army and navy with some decent ships. Not doing so until the independence was declared and war was eminent, leaves me thinking we weren't totally thinking it through. Until the Revolution, Washington hadn't fought a battle, he did his learning on the job once he was appointed First Commander of the First Continental 'army,' composed of farmers and swaggerts till Valley Forge, when Washington pulled the ones, who didn't run away at the battle of Manhattan, together. Adams appointed Washington, drew up rules of behavior of military men, drafted punishments for misbehavior, founded a military academy, and got funds to pay the soldiers. It seemed soldiers stayed on the job when they were paid for their services rather than being just volunteers. Lovely tea room, but I too would like a backroom peak at the Chesapeake. John Adams is often referred to as the Father of the Navy he did so much to launch those revolutionary ships

  12. John, how exciting for you, congratulations and enjoy.

  13. Tu estusiasmo es contagioso! Esperaremos impacientes para ver el desarrollo del proyecto. Un abrazo.

  14. thanks Everyone ... Family arrived for the week...will catch up after they've returned to Cornwall

  15. wow, John what an exciting adventure for you! it's amazing how these things come about and the wonderful serendipity involved in your recent project and how it's linked to this one! Hope you have a fabulous trip and I'll look forward to seeing your illustration once you get the details you need.

  16. Glad you are back! Missed YOU!
    Thanks for the visit.

  17. Dear John,

    I do hope your are feeling better. There has been a nasty bug going around in the states as well, keep warm and drink plenty of fluids. If you are okay, than get back to work lol. Looking forward to your brilliant work.