Tag Archives: queen

Fit for a Pirate Queen

I sold a painting through my Etsy shop! My take on Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley—from Eve Bunting’s P Is For Piratehas found the perfect home. My patron and his girlfriend are pirate history aficionadoes whose house they transformed into a pirate museum, Musee Libertalia. “It’s named after Captain Mission’s fabled pirate paradise—Libertalia, on the Island of Saint Marie off Madagascar.”

She looks right at home.

I’m so happy. What an honor!

Post scriptum—If ye’ve a mind, shape a course in this direction for a fantastic reading of Treasure Island.

The wristwatch

While I was blathering about cars and roads, I got ahead of myself—I haven’t been talking about time for awhile. In the previous post I mentioned that satellites need incredibly precise clocks so that their signals are accurate when finding your global position. But the last time we looked at a clock was Harrison’s marine chronometer from 200 years ago.

The Queen of Naples wearing her wristwatch.

In 1810 the very first wristwatch was designed by Abraham-Louis Breguet for the Queen of Naples. Before that, a ‘watch’ meant a pocket-watch, kept in your pocket and attached to a button-hole in your vest by a chain. Instead of hauling a time-piece out of your pocket, now all you had to do was look at your wrist.

Nowadays nobody wears a wristwatch. When we want to know the time, we haul our cell phones out of our pockets. Progress!

A Brief History of the Wristwatch – Part 1


Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Time & Space

Q is for Queen

Here is one of my favorites from P is for Pirate, the notorious Grace O’Malley—Irish queen & pirate captain. She was a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth I and reportedly had an interview with Gloriana (who, after all, had a soft spot for buccaneers).

Queen Grace has been the subject of songs, at least one play and even a musical. So far as I know the swashbuckling Maureen O’Hara never played her in a movie, but what perfect casting that would have been!

I show Queen Grace in an Errol Flynn pose with her ruffians behind her. In the sketch I thoughtlessly drew a baroque-looking ship like we’re used to seeing from piracy’s golden age. In the final painting I used the Mayflower—much closer in style to a ship from Queen Grace’s time—as reference. Same deal with the costumes: they’re Elizabethan. I first drew her in men’s clothes but thought she looks much cuter in a dress.