The painting belonged to Capt John Walters, known to my father as Uncle Johnny, who was apprenticed to the master of the Windrush* at Bristol docks round about 1890. The artist had been a shipmate who, like all sailors according to Uncle Johnny, had to occupy himself between the busyness of leaving one port and arriving at the next. He didn’t rate the never-ending task of removing rust from the handrails and repainting.
Given that the artist was a sailor, I thought that maybe the signal flags on the ship would have a message for us, so here is the key to the alphabet that was used before they had radio communication.
This photo shows Capt John Walters with his wife, Elizabeth, née George.