Post Artists Go to Sea: "The Sweetest Way to Me Is a Ship's upon the Sea," Wrote Rudyard Kipling. and Those Who Aren't Inclined to Hang over the Rail with Seasickness Will Likely Agree. (the American Illustrators Hall of Fame)

By Blythe, Samuel G.; Faulkner, William | The Saturday Evening Post, May-June 2003 | Go to article overview

Post Artists Go to Sea: "The Sweetest Way to Me Is a Ship's upon the Sea," Wrote Rudyard Kipling. and Those Who Aren't Inclined to Hang over the Rail with Seasickness Will Likely Agree. (the American Illustrators Hall of Fame)


Blythe, Samuel G., Faulkner, William, The Saturday Evening Post


"I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky," John Masefield wrote, and our Post illustrators have had the same urge, except for a different reason--they were looking, for good ideas for cover paintings. There were, for example, the graceful and awe-inspiring ships themselves, so brilliantly portrayed by Anton Otto Fischer, whose 1932 vision of a clipper ship (right) might well have been inspired by further lines from the poet laureate:

"And all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by/ And the wheel's kick and the wind's song, and the white sail's shaking/And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking."

But of course, there is far more to the sea than ships, and our landlubbing artists have deftly explored other themes--such as the sound of the sea and salty old seadogs' memories. But their favorite theme of all has been the tenuous relationship between the sea and romance. There's the boy-girl type and the daydreamer's deck chair type. And sometimes the two meet, giving artists leave to explore the double theme of lovesickness and seasickness combined. As for Norman Rockwell's depiction of a young lad leaving his pretty girl for the romance of the sea, the youth might be wise to take the advice of the famous Samuel Johnson on the subject: "No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in jail with the chance of being drowned.... A man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company." But what adventure-seeking young lad worth his salt ever listened to the truth?

Well, at any rate, we promise you smooth sailing on our Illustrators Hall of Fame sea voyage.

"The wind that blows, the ship that goes, and the lass that loves a sailor," wrote the poet Charles Dibdin. …

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Post Artists Go to Sea: "The Sweetest Way to Me Is a Ship's upon the Sea," Wrote Rudyard Kipling. and Those Who Aren't Inclined to Hang over the Rail with Seasickness Will Likely Agree. (the American Illustrators Hall of Fame)
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