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A modern maritime take on Edward Lear’s wacky drawings

by | Aug 20, 2021 | Seafarers' Rights and Welfare, Shipping, Society and Culture

Edward Lear (1812–1888) was a gifted English landscape painter. However, he is better known as the writer of an original kind of nonsense verse, which is epitomised by his ‘A Book of Nonsense’. First published in 1846, the slim volume contains drawings done by Lear himself. The drawings are wacky, outlandish and often absurd. But some of them make sense to me from a modern, maritime perspective. The following are 10 examples. The captions below each work are mine.

Click here to learn more about Edward Lear. See samples of his artwork here.


Growing fat from the sweat of seafarers

Abandoned — “You’re on you own, lads!”

The art of paying empty tributes to seafarers

More noise about seafarers’ mental health, more donations to the charities

Maritime unions dancing merrily with manning agents

Dancing to the tune played by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on the ‘Day of the Seafarer’

How heavy the burden of training on seafarers

Power: the main driving force in shipping

The maritime cadet as unpaid gofer and servant

What to do with rogue shipowners and thieving manning agents (ideally speaking)


~ Barista Uno

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