Boulogne. Entrance of the Harbour.

Print. This print is one of the plates from J. F d'Ostervald's 'Excursions sur les côtes et dans les ports de Normandie' (1823-25) a publication for which Richard Parkes Bonington and others also did plates. Nash - like Bonington an English artist who lived and worked in France - takes a viewpoint from above the beach to the north-east of Boulogne harbour entrance, defined on that side by the short jetty shown here with a crowd on it. The much longer one on the south-western side, shields the harbour mouth and the beach from the prevailing weather direction. The tall framework with a flag on the end of the southern jetty is probably a signalling tower. Given that Boulogne and Calais were already cross-Channel steamer ports by 1823, it is likely to have been and early way of signalling safe states of tide for paddle-packets to enter the tidal harbour, including by lights hoisted at night which also marked the entrance. Such an open frame would also have resisted breaking seas, given its exposed position. The shelter provided to the beach is shown by the fact that fashionable but hardy visitors are using bathing machines there, despite the lively sea conditions of a dramatically grey and gusty day. In 2012 the Museum acquired a watercolour previously reidentified as 'Shipping off Dieppe' by Bonington, despite bearing an old inscription that it was of Boulogne (see ZBA5117). This print shows that the old identification was, in fact, correct since the drawing includes the end of the southern jetty and the signalling tower, as here. [PvdM

Object Details

ID: PAD1608
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Bennett; Nash, Frederick Ostervald, J F d' Priestly & Weale
Places: Unlinked place
Date made: 1823-1825; 1823-25
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Mount: 209 mm x 258 mm

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