Sunday, 23 January 2011
"THULE ROCK" AND "REAPER"
A bit later than promised, here is the latest commissioned painting. It features two historical Shetland fishing boats, the steam drifter "Thule Rock" and the motorised (and substantially rebuilt) fifie lugger "Reaper".
The "Thule Rock" was built at Stromness, Orkney in 1917, the only steam drifter to have been built there. At some point, probably in the 1930s, she was sold from Shetland to Lowestoft, being renamed "Lord Howard" (LT212). She was requisitioned by the Admiralty on the outbreak of the second world war, and was lost at Dunkirk in 1940. I have no record as to loss of life.
The "Reaper" is still afloat today as a completely restored fifie sailing lugger, which is how she began her career in 1901. Built at Sandhaven , she sailed out of nearby Fraserburgh until 1908, when she was bought by Shetland owners. At some point, she was converted into a motor vessel, as many of this type of boat were, and in the late 1930s, she underwent an even more extensive refit. Her stem was lengthened, an extra board was fitted around the gunwale, a new wheelhouse casing added, and there may have been other alterations too, for instance in the engine room (I'm not sure about this). She fished successfully until the 1950s, when she was bought by the islands council and used as a cargo vessel until around 1970. Eventually she was bought by the Anstruther Fisheries Museum, and restored to her original hull and rig, under which she sails as a training vessel.
I am at an advanced stage with two more paintings, and I hope to have one or both of these ready for next week's post. Enjoy your week!