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Please note, as our exhibitions change regularly, the boats, objects and pictures featured in this section may not now be on display in the museum. Please contact us on 01326 313388 for further information.

Jane Slade, Schooner of Fowey

Jane Slade, Schooner of Fowey

To celebrate the Daphne Du Maurier Festival we have chosen to focus on a ship, which inspired the author. Dame Daphne Du Maurier, also known as Lady Browning, spent much of her life here in Cornwall, a place where she had holidayed and known as a child.

This is a painting of the Jane Slade, a schooner, which worked out of Fowey. She was built in Fowey for the Slade family, who were involved in shipping. The ship can tell many stories – of Fowey and the Polruan area, of the Slade family and particularly of Jane, who was an unusual woman of her time due to her active involvement in the shipping business. It also provides a link to one of Cornwall’s favourite authors, Daphne Du Maurier.

The Jane Slade was an old schooner lying up the Pont river near Fowey. Daphne noticed this vessel when she was first learning to sail in 1927. Daphne was intrigued by the Jane Slade and asked many questions about it of a local boatman, named Adam. Jane Slade was the grandmother of Adam’s wife. Daphne investigated the history of the Jane Slade, which had been launched in 1870, and the woman the ship was named after. This research was for a novel covering four generations of the Slade family. This book was ‘The Loving Spirit’. The character of Janet Coombe is based on Daphne’s knowledge of Jane Slade.

The painting was painted by celebrated maritime artist, Reuben Chappell (1870-1940), known as a Pierhead Painter. He would sit at the pierhead of various different ports, painting the ships that sailed past and succeeded in selling his work to the captains and crew. This particular painting was painted in 1913. It features a lightship and a steamer – common features in Chappell’s paintings, often added to provide balance to the painting and give an indication of where the ship was heading or had passed. It is estimated that Chappell painted around 12,000 paintings during his working life as an artist, both in Goole (his home town) and in Cornwall.

He produced the paintings very quickly, doing pencil sketches to record details and completing the painting, (most of which were in watercolour, which was quicker to dry) at home to return to the ship the following day. Chappell was painting during a period which saw the transition from sailing ships to those powered by steam and is known for his depictions of both types of ship.

It is planned that this beautiful painting will be on display in the Cornwall and the Sea gallery from mid-July. Before then it can be viewed by arrangement by contacting: sarahriddle@nmmc.co.uk

Please note, as our exhibitions change regularly, the boats, objects and pictures featured in this section may not now be on display in the museum. Please contact us on 01326 313388 for further information.