The Stade, Hastings
Coloured aquatintJanuary 1822
About the work
To the left of this aquatinted view, ships are aground on the Stade, a shingle beach in Hastings Old Town, East Sussex, which has long been used as a landing place for boats. Horse-drawn carts carry goods up the beach, past several boats, towards the bustling town.
One of the most striking aspects of the view is the large tall ship at the water’s edge. How such a large ship was positioned so close to the shore was explained in the fourth edition of ‘The Hastings Guide’, published in 1815:
‘… the sloops and cutters… are wound up by a capstan [a rotating machine, operated] with three or four horses; and the facility and expedition with which such large heavy bodies (vessels from fifty to one hundred tons burthen [in weight]) are launched, is wonderful:- pieces of wood well greased, are laid for the vessel’s keel and side to run on...’
After the vessel is loaded or unloaded, the pieces of wood:
‘...are re-laid, and she is put in motion again; and so on till she is far enough to float when the tide returns.’
This print was published in 1822 as plate two of a series titled ‘Six Views of Hastings’. The series was priced at one pound, one shilling and was issued by Rudolph Ackermann.
About the artist
Watercolourist John Gendall was born in Exeter and worked as a domestic servant, until his drawings came to the attention of Rudolph Ackermann. By 1811 he was working with Ackermann in London. Ackermann published his views of Dover and Calais (1820), the River Seine (1821), Hastings (1822), Edinburgh (1823), and numerous country seats. In 1824 Gendall returned to Exeter and soon formed a partnership with a Mr W. Cole, selling paintings and drawings, and running a framing business. After Cole’s retirement, he opened an art school. He exhibited landscapes in watercolour, gouache or oils, at the Royal Academy (1846-63) and was curator of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter (1862-64), but retired after being injured in a rail accident.