William Dampier (1651-1715). An extraordinary man, part time pirate, explorer, naturalist, the first person to circumnavigate the world three times, the first Englishman to explore parts of Australia. He recorded what he saw in his journals which, when published, won him fame if not fortune and the support of the British Admiralty.
His inclination towards piracy, brutality towards crew members, bad luck and misfortune dogged his voyages and when, in 1715, he made a long and profitable voyage serving under Woodes Rogers (a pirate turned pirate hunter) he died before he could receive his share of the £ 200’000 profit (something like £ 20’000’000 in present day value).
We decided to show him in his work clothes as he scrambles about Shark Bay in Western Australia. He wears stout and much used sea boots as it is quite a dangerous place to explore barefooted.
He has taken a dog lock pistol (beautifully made for us by Paul Sawney, an English gun maker) because he normally feels naked without it. Flint, powder and shot are in his pocket but his mind is on his work as a naturalist rather than piracy and his sketchbook is held ready for action…
Above: Long John Silver from “Treasure Island”, a rather dangerous tough young sailor in Robert Louis Stenvenson’s famous novel but far less frightening when you see him ready for transport from our studio in Prêles to the Uebersee Museum in Bremen.
Above: Most of the images of pirates that we have in our heads and in books and films are based on the paintings and illustrations of Howard Pyle, the famous American illustrator who practically single handed invented the popular world of pirates. One of his paintings “Marooned” shows a lonely pirate left by his comrades on a tiny desert island and we made this figure from it for the Uebersee Museum.