Monday, 5 April 2010

Jonny Hannah

Jonny Hannah - Nantucket Sleighride - seen here

I like this lino cut by Jonny Hannah, courtesy of St. Jude's Prints. The Nantucket Sleighride was a grisly term used by Nantucket whalers after they had harpooned a whale and the distressed beast dragged the boat at high speed until the whale was exhausted and eventually killed (grim grim grim).

This particular print commemorates a grisly tale for the Whalers tells of "Owen Coffin who was cabin boy aboard the whaler Essex, which was destroyed by a sperm whale in 1819. Owen ended up in the lifeboat with Captain Pollard, his uncle. Two other lifeboats also put out. During the next 3 - 4 months, the lifeboats separated. One was never seen again, but some of those on the remaining two boats were eventually rescued. During those long months at sea (and on desert islands), many of the men died. The remainder eventually had to resort to cannibalism to survive. After the dead of natural causes were consumed, the men determined to draw lots to see who would sacrifice his life for the others. Owen Coffin ``won'' the lottery. The Captain tried to take Owen's place, but the youth insisted on his ``right''. The executioner was also drawn by lot. That ``winner'', another young man named Charles Ramsdell, also tried vainly to swap places with Owen. Again he refused. Owen's body kept the others alive for ten days (Captain Pollard refused to eat his nephew). Another man died, and his body kept Pollard and Ramsdell alive a few more days until they were rescued." seen here

I remember the album Nantucket Sleighride by Mountain too from the 70's - a riff from the title track was used for the British political programme Weekend World.


  1. lovely blog - what a happy find! I've always wanted to get back to lino cuts but I don't know if I have the patience for it now. great example

  2. Thanks for your comments! Glad you enjoy!


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