|Buckby Can from "Blue Haze."|
There is a great tradition on the English waterways of painting narrowboats and barges and their homewares with brightly coloured roses, castles, lakes, ponds and complex diamond and square shaped patterns. The photos here show mostly roses, and the highly decorated "Buckby Can" is from my narrowboat, "Blue Haze." The earliest written record of the tradition dates from 1875, but nobody really knows the true origin and reason behind this artform. From the late 1700s until the 1930s, whole families lived on the working boats, with parents and several children all cramped into one small cabin, where every last corner was used for storage. Maybe these people missed living on land in a cottage, so they painted their barge and utility ware with ideas of their ideal home, a castle and lake, with roses in the garden. Cetainly everything on board was decorated, cupboards, drawers, pot and pans, chairs, stools, mops and brooms, you name it, and it was decorated with very brightly coloured flowers.
The photos below show ware painted by Robert Wright, who decorates gifts sold in the Devizes Kennet & Avon Canal Trust wharfside canal shop. More information about the artform can be read on: www.canaljunction.com/narrowboat/art.htm
|Sugar jars and a tea caddy.|
|Painted wooden spoons and a tea caddy.|