Stoved!

This is one of the pieces in the Verdant Works Exhibition ‘The Arctic Whaling Year’, Autumn 2018.  Early, non-industrialised whaling was a dangerous activity.  When lookouts on a whaling ship saw a whale, the whaling boats were lowered and quietly rowed towards the whale. These boats were smaller than the whales they were hunting and whalers had to approach a whale close enough to throw or stab a harpoon into the side of the whale.  This did not kill the whale but enabled the boat to remain attached to the whale, the whalers paying out rope as the whale dived.   The weight of the rope and boat dragged on the whale slowing it down. If the harpoon remained in the whale after what could be many hours of pulling the rope and boat, the whale might tire enough for the harpooneer to stab the whale with a long sharp lance that would pierce the internal organs and kill the whale.  This was the most dangerous time.  The huge tail flukes could easily splinter the wooden boat scattering the whalemen, most of whom could not swim, into the sea.

Stoved!

Stoved!

This image is derived from an image on one of a set of whaling cigarette cards.  I first saw the set in the online catalogue of the McManus Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum.  I was able to find them for sale online, so I now own a set myself.