Monday, 19 February 2018

The mermaid frontispiece for Sir Henry Herring's account of St Doris Island

Mermaid at St Doris Island, showing Drake's Golden Hinde, flying fish and a sea monster

The print is now available! Read on to see it.

You may remember the above sketch by Martin Dace for the frontispiece of Sir Henry Herring's book, 'Seynt Doris Ilande,' subtitled 'Seynt Doris, an Iland in ye Westerne Indies, its Historie Geographie & divers Marvells founde therein together with a Description of its Aboriginall Salvages, set down in all Veritie by Henry Herring, Earl of a Bit of Cornwall and not the Other Bit, who went with Francis Drake, Kt. in the XXI year of the reine of Her Glorious Majestie Queen Elizabeth whom God preserve. Printed and sold at St. Doris-by-the-Fishmonger Churchyard, London MDLXXXXIX.'

(Takes breath.)

The sketch is of course an attempt at a modern reconstruction of the original. I have the book somewhere but unfortunately it is in a box or perhaps a cupboard somewhere, and as frequently happens with things I put in a safe place I've no idea how to find it. Martin did the sketch from the description in my novel, 'A Mermaid in the Bath,' as follows:

'The frontispiece facing the title page showed a woodcut, primitive and wonderful, of a volcanic island fringed with palm trees, in the distance a little ship much like Drake's Golden Hinde and dominating the foreground a triumphantly naked mermaid.'

I am happy to report that not only is this pretty close to my memory of the original, but also that it has now been fully realised as a lino print. Here it is:

The mermaid at St Doris Island, together with Drake's Golden Hinde , a sea monster and four flying fish

This is now available as a limited edition print on Japanese Kitakata paper (buff coloured) or Shoji (white) from Martin Dace's Etsy store.

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