Charles Robert Patterson’s reputation was of a powerful maritime artist dedicated to an accurate portrayal of life aboard ship. Here, a long line of sailors in wet weather gear stand along the port side of a full rigged ship hauling the braces- long lines attached to the outer ends of the yardarms. This will trim the sails, rotating a yardarm around the mast, allowing the ship to sail at different angles to the wind. Adjusting the sails on a fully rigged ship, such as the one here, is much more difficult than on a smaller sailing yacht. The braces on large ships carry heavy loads but have few blocks, so this maneuver usually requires the entire crew to be called to "bracing stations" with many people pulling to move the large sails against the wind.
As is common in works by the artist, Patterson has blended excellent details with outstanding coloration and active brushwork and the result is a vibrant and exciting narrative view.
On deck scenes like this one are uniquely desirable for collectors of maritime art. Artists like Patterson, with years of firsthand experience aboard the ships they portrayed, were intimately aware of the excitements and trials of life at sea and carried that knowledge onto their canvases. This is particularly true when, as here, we see the sailor’s faces, drenched in spray, hard at their task and all pulling as one to guide themselves and their craft over the waves. A roll to port puts their feet ankle deep in water on deck, but with a touch of warm tones, Patterson makes us aware this is no crisis, just another day at sea. The setting sun gilds the sails above and lends a touch of warm light over the white caps. The ship’s master stands calmly; with all confidence in his men. Overall this is a maritime scene of quality that calls to any with a love of the sea.
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