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Art Marine

Mark Myers PPRSMA - The Beagle Warping out of Barn Pool

Mark Myers PPRSMA - The Beagle Warping out of Barn Pool

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Original watercolour, signed lower right, mounted and framed.

Image size 14.25 x 21.25 inches (36cm x 54cm)
Frame size 20.5 x 27.5 inches (52cm x 70 cm)

The Beagle left Devonport on 23 November and dropped anchor at the Barn Pool under Mount Edgecombe, where FitzRoy waited for a favourable north easterly wind. Now spending a lot of his time on board ship, Darwin had trouble finding his sea legs and wasn’t used to sleeping in a hammock: “I … experienced a most ludicrous difficulty in getting into it; my great fault of jockeyship was in trying to put my legs in first.” (Journal: 4 December 1831) 

Several times during December the Beagle should have sailed, but that month south west gales battered the coast. Twice the Beagle weighed anchor and sailed out, the first time on the 9th, only to return the next day: “We got to our anchorage at Barnett Pool about noon, and are now lying quiet and snug.” (Journal: 10 December 1831). The second time was on the 21 December. This time the Beagle ran onto a rock whilst tacking round Drake’s Island. To release the ship, all the crew ran from one side of the ship to the other and back again, so tipping it off the rock. Unharmed, the Beagle got within sight of the Lizard before storms struck, returning to the Barn Pool the next day.

On Christmas Day 1831, Darwin went to church, most probably Stoke Damerel, where the guest preacher was a friend from Cambridge University, William Strong Hore of Stonehouse. Hore was at that time Assistant Stipendiary Curate to Saltash; after ordination, he became Curate at Stoke Damerel.

Whilst Darwin was at church, the Beagle’s crew got drunk and disorderly. The weather on the 26 December was ideal for sailing, but the crew were either hung over or in irons as a result of their behaviour the day before. At 11am On Monday 27 December 1831, in perfect weather, the Beagle weighed anchor and set sail. On a friend’s yacht, Darwin caught the ship at 2pm beyond the Breakwater, and so began his epic voyage.

(A larger photo is available on request)

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