Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Old Drawings #17

Tuxedo Princess (Charcoal and compressed charcoal on A2 cartridge paper)

The Tuxedo Princess began life as The Caledonian Princess and as such saw service on runs to Douglas, Isle of Man, and later as a Sealink ferry across the Channel. In 1982, however, she was sold for static use as a nightclub berthed on the River Tyne at Gateshead, where she was renamed Tuxedo Princess, but always known locally as "The Boat."

Sitting directly under the Tyne Bridge, she always looked out of proportion to me, or rather she made the Bridge look smaller than it actually is. There was a long-running battle with Gateshead Council, who tried to make the owners pay rates rather than a berthing fee, but a court case established that the ship was still sea-worthy and therefore eligible to pay berthing fees only.

For a few years she was taken away for a refit, and replaced by an even bigger ship, the Tuxedo Royale, now berthed, I believe, at Middlesbrough.

The club owners operated a policy of cheap drink offers and eventually, following the death of a night time reveller who fell overboard, and complaints from the police who felt they were being called out to deal with a disproportionate amount of drunken behaviour there, the Council came to an agreement with the owners that meant the end of the Princess.

On 27th July 2008, she left the Tyne.

I did this drawing in about 1993 as part of a series of work looking down from the Tyne Bridge. All the others were of buildings, and ultimately made more successful paintings. The painting derived from this drawing never really convinced and it got chopped down and reused (not unlike the Boat)


Casey Klahn said...

This drawing has a depth of detail and a really great composition. I'd love to see the whole set of "looking down" drawings!

harrybell said...

I'm afraid, Casey, that with one or two exceptions they're all either sold or lost. What I have will appear here in due course.