'Scandalised' - two Brixham 'mules' caught in a southerly gale signed 'John Chancellor' (lower right) oil on canvas 61 x 91.4cm (24 x 36in).
LITERATURE : Rita Chancellor & Austin Hawkins, John Chancellors Classic Maritime Paintings, David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1st ed., 1989, pp. 42-43, illustrated.
This dramatic composition depicts two Brixham mules [a mule was a large ketch worked by three crew] caught in a sudden southerly gale off the Scillies whilst fishing during the night and, in the morning light, making a run for shelter in Newlyn. Both vessels have scandalised the foot of their main and mizzen (masts) whereas the Fernleaf (just to the left of centre) has, in fact, taken in her mizzen sail altogether so as to ease the steering. Scandalising was seen by the crew as a simpler operation than pulling down the third reef and had a further advantage of reducing the risk of the sail being burst open by the sea.