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6th class pupils of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare, County Wexford, June 2021

This online exhibition celebrates the outstanding artworks created by 5th and 6th class pupils of Scoil Mhuire, Rosslare, County Wexford during their Wexford Whale project facilitated by David Begley and assisted by Nadia Corridan. The drawings were made in driftwood charcoal baked from wood gathered from beaches at The Burrow, Rosslare and Rosslare Harbour.

Over the course of five workshops the pupils discovered and interpreted the story of Rosslare Fort lifeboat pilot, Edward Wickham, and the blue whale he captured at the mouth of Wexford Harbour in March 1891. To reimagine scenes from this story and in order to create an animation, the children visited The Burrow beach, Rosslare and there they drew the sea, a view of Raven point and also sketched their teacher Mr. Lawlor posing as Edward Wickham rowing a cot out to the whale. 

 

To depict the large crowds of sightseers which flocked to Wexford to see the captured whale on Easter weekend, March 1891, the children were inspired by the photographs of Charles E. Vize. Vize had a studio in Wexford from the late 1890’s. He photographed Wickham several times throughout his life as a lifeboat coxswain. 

 

The children also drew many scenes from the story of the whale from their imagination. Presented in this exhibition is a selection of their drawings – one per child – made during the project. In addition to these works, animated scenes were created by the pupils which can be seen in the short film 'The Whale' which will be completed in December 2021. This film features drawings and animations made by the children and artist David Begley.

David would like to thank Andrea Doyle of The Rosslare Ancestry Project, Des Peare, Leo Coy at Rosslare Harbour Maritime Heritage Centre, Billy Doyle at Rosslare Burrow Lifeboat Memorial, Gerry Wickham, Richard Sabin at The Natural History Museum, London, Nadia Corridan, Francis Long, Gráinne Doran archivist at Wexford County Council, teachers Liam Lawlor and Eilish Kavanagh, SNA Aileen McGee, and principal Anne Marie Carty at Scoil Mhuire Rosslare for all their help, enthusiasm and support during the project. Scroll down to see drawings by pupils of 5th and 6th class!

The Wexford Whale is a 'Creative Connections Ports Past Present' project funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme.

 

 

The Wexford Whale
An exhibition 

5th Class Drawings


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1. Portrait of a family, onlookers at the Quays Wexford, Easter Sunday, March 29th 1891.
Crowds gathered to see the body of the 25 metre blue whale captured by Edward Wickham.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Inspired by the portraiture of Charles E. Vize.
Vize photographed Wickham on several occasions during his lifetime.

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2. Portrait of an onlooker at Wexford Quays Easter weekend, March 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Inspired by the portraiture of Charles E. Vize.

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3. Portrait of onlookers at Wexford Quays Easter weekend, March 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Inspired by the portraiture of Charles E. Vize.

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4. Portrait of a tourist at the Quays, Wexford.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Inspired by the portraiture of Charles E. Vize.

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5. Portrait of a tourist at the Quays, 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Inspired by the portraiture of Charles E. Vize.

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6. Portrait of a tourist at the Quays, 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Inspired by the portraiture of Charles E. Vize.

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7. Portrait of a family at the Quays Wexford, Easter weekend, March 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare, County Wexford.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Inspired by the portraiture of Charles E. Vize.

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8. Portrait of a gentleman at the Quays Wexford, Easter weekend, March 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Inspired by the portraiture of Charles E. Vize.

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9. Edward Wickham's first sighting of the whale.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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10. Wickham's view of the sea on Wednesday morning, March 25th 1891. 
Drawn from observation at the Burrow beach, Rosslare. 
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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11. Portrait of Ned Wickham as he rowed out to the whale late on Wednesday night, March 25th 1891. 
Drawn from observation at the Burrow beach, Rosslare: Mr Lawlor posed as a rower.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare, County Wexford.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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12. Ned Wickham as he rowed out to the whale late on Wednesday night, March 25th 1891. 
Drawn from observation at the Burrow beach, Rosslare.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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13. Wickham as he approached the whale. 
Drawn from observation at the Burrow beach, Rosslare.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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14. Shipwreck under the Irish Sea: the seas off Wexford coast were treacherous.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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15. The whale struggled for a day and a night to free itself from the muddy banks outside Wexford
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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16. One of many butchers who processed the whale's carcass and cleaned its skeleton at the Raven in April 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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17. It took many weeks and many people to  clean the whale's skeleton.  Mr Lawlor posed for this drawing.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare,.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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18. The whale's skeleton now hangs in Hintze Hall, at The Natural History Museum, London.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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19. Visitors at The Natural History Museum, London.  Nadia Corridan and Mr Lawlor posed for this drawing.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 5th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

6th Class Drawings

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1. Imagining the Raven, Edward Wickham's view from Rosslare point, March 25th 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Drawn from observation.

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2. A storm raged over Wexford in the week before March 25th 1891.
This may have brought the whale further off course and led to her being stranded between Raven Point and Rosslare Point.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Drawn from observation.

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3. Imagining Edward Wickham looking out to sea, witnessing the blue whale appear for the first time on March 25th 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Inspired by a portrait of Ned Wickham by Charles E Vize.

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4. Edward Wickham spotted the whale floundering. 
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. This drawing was also animated by this pupil.

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5. Together with Saunders and Blake, Wickham rowed out to the whale. 
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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6. Seeing the men approach, the whale became agitated.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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7. The whale thrashed its enormous tail.  
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare, County Wexford.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. This drawing was also animated by this pupil.

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8. Wickham and his men returned to the safety of Rosslare fort. 
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare, County Wexford.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. This drawing was made at The Burrow beach, Rosslare.

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9. The whale grew weak and tired. 
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Drawn at The Burrow beach, Rosslare.

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10. The whale continued to struggle throughout that day and night. By midnight it was suffocating. Wickham and his men rowed out to the whale once more. 
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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11. A passing ship in the night.  
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare, County Wexford.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. Drawn at The Burrow beach, Rosslare.

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12. At around 1am on Thursday March 26th 1891, Edward Wickham plunged a blade into the whale's heart and ended its suffering.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare, County Wexford.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021. 

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13. Portrait of a woman at Wexford quays. Crowds gathered  to see the carcass of the captured whale in Wexford Harbour on Saturday 28th and Easter Sunday 29th of March, 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare, County Wexford.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

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14. Portrait of an onlooker at Wexford quays, Easter Sunday 29th of March, 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

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15. Portrait of an onlooker at Wexford quays, Easter Sunday 29th of March, 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

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16. Imagined here, one of three vessels which carried onlookers out from Wexford Harbour to the carcass of the whale.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

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17. One of the many tourists who climbed onto the body of the whale on Easter weekend, 1891
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

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18. One of three vessels which carried onlookers out from Wexford Harbour to the carcass of the whale.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

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19. In April 1891 Armstrong had the carcass towed to the Raven beach, Curracloe.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

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20. A team of workers butchered and cleaned the whale's skeleton. Seagulls circled over the stench of the corpse.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

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21. The whale's skeleton, drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare.
The skeleton and baleen were sold to The Natural History Museum, London for £256.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

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22. The whale’s oil was collected in 14 drums holding 205 litres each. This was harvested by boiling the whale's blubber on Rosslare fort.
The oil was sold by Armstrong adding to his profit from the whale.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS. Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

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23. The whale's skeleton was crated before being sent to The Natural History Museum, London, in 1891.
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire NS, Rosslare.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

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24. The Wexford whale's skeleton named 'Hope' hangs in the Hintze Hall, The Natural History Museum, London
Drawing for 'The Whale' by a 6th class pupil of Scoil Mhuire National School, Rosslare, Wexford.

Driftwood charcoal on paper, 2021

Further images, animated clips and information on this project can be seen at:


https://www.facebook.com/thewexfordwhale

The Wexford Whale is a 'Creative Connections Ports Past Present' project.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme.

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