Saturday 21 July 2007

The hang of the sail - industrial "design" - # 175

I've always loved ships, harbours, canals and similar industrial scenes for the way that they show up fascinating shapes, angles and colours and project, (for me at any rate), senses of character and provoke feelings of nostalgia or portent. Digital photography has allowed this amateur passion to find some expression.

This is a photo of the hang of the huge mainsail on Thames Barge "Henry". It's the way it has to hang. That's how it is, but it's a working "industrial" function.

Thames barges, by tradition, all have - MUST have - red brick coloured sails. Seeing a half dozen of them out at sea, drenched in sunlight and under full sail is a special and very specific sight that is unique in the whole world - but now gone except for very special occasions.

P.S. Cick on the photo to enlarge it. You will be rewarded with the details of the stitching and edging of the sail.


  1. I did click it and felt I was there and touched it...Very pretty shot!

  2. Both pictures (large and small) are fascinating and the only clue is the pulley. I still was not sure.

    Thanks for your visit and info on the jam.

  3. At first I thought, "a theatre curtain". But it was even more interesting to learn that this is a traditional mainsail. Thanks for the lovely drape photo today.

  4. It looks like a piece of art, the way it's hanging there.

  5. Nice photo. I need a bigger monitor to view these pictures in their entirety! There must be so many objects such as this sail that may have been designed with function and not aesthetics in mind, yet which have a beauty all of their own.

  6. Form is function.

    I must have maritime genes somewhere or other.