New painting in the collection of the Mayor’s Yard - the Harbour Pilot at Slipshavn

07. July 2014 | The Mayors Yard

Slipshavn Harbour is an important part of the story of Nyborg, from its start as a medieval port until its role as a vital gunboat harbour during the English Wars in the 1800's, then a military base for seaplanes and submarines and now the base for the Marine Home Guard.

The Museums of Eastern Funen have succeeded in acquiring a fine painting of Slipshavn that has a good story behind it. The painting shows the harbour pilot at Slipshavn; the sail on his boat has the typical mark of the pilot, a red stripe. The pilot is sailing a clinker-built smack dinghy, which used to be quite common in the waters around Funen, Zealand and Lolland-Falster. Smack dinghies were used, not just by pilots, but by fishermen and for general transportation between the islands. It is a characteristic of this type of dinghy that it has a sprit rather than a boom.

The harbour pilots at Slipshavn first went to work in 1799. They had to cover a large area; they had the right to pilot ships in the Baltic Sea, the Great Belt, and in the Kattegat as far north as Skagen and as far south as Helsingør. The pilots in Nyborg had their permanent base at Slipshavn, and in 1859, houses were built for them there. Until 1892, most of the piloting took place from open boats, either rowboats or sailboats, which also can be seen in the painting from 1881. In 1974, the pilot station at Slipshavn was moved to Spodsbjerg (Langeland), the end of an era for Slipshavn.

The painting is signed by Chr. Blache, refering to Christian Blache (1838-1920). He was a recognized marine painter in his day, considered to belong to the Skagen painters group.

The painting shows signs of wear and tear and needs conservation. At first, it will be exhibited at the Mayor's Yard in the reception area, and in the autumn it will take a trip to the conservation workshop.

Photo: The Museums of Eastern Funen

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