Charlestown Cornwall paintings “October Evening” Explained

Charlestown Cornwall, fine maritime paintings and beautiful prints.

Charlestown, the port, ‘October Evening’, Cornwall

Charlestown, was still a working port when I created this fine and popular painting.

“Charlestown, October Evening”, 91 x 61 cm (36″ x 24″), painted in 1989 is long since sold to a private collector.

Better news, beautiful prints are available as a signed limited edition print via our Print Gallery page

Purchase Now  with your credit card via Paypal or bank to bank

Each print is hand crafted to the highest specification, prices are excellent value, currently starting very modestly from £ 187. inc P & P.

Standard size print of “Charlestown, October Evening
image size: 52 x 35 cm (20½” x 14″)

The original painting.

The vessels in this painting of Charlestown are the barque “Marques” and the brig ‘Maria Asumpta“. Charlestown was for many years their home port.

Charlestown, Cornwall, is in this painting still a working port as it appeared when I made this Maritime painting.

Charlestown, Cornwall, the port is little changed in the 25 + years since this painting was created.

Charlestown is a popular and favourite subject of mine, I’d love to paint Charlestown again from the studies I made then and subsequently.

I have a long relationship and great affection for this lovely port.

Charlestown, Cornwall.

a series of my early paintings inspired by this charming port and all of which have sold.

Charlestown Harbour paintings
Charlestown Harbour

this painting now belongs to my first wife. She now lives in Charlestown, we keep in touch and I call on her when visiting the port.

We both like that.

These paintings were created nearby when I lived nearby behind Par Beach in Polmear Parc, one of the few places where but for property prices, I’d happily return to finish my days.

The White Ship

Charlestown paintings
The White Ship, Charlestown.

The White Ship, or more precisely a white brig, the Maria Asumpta.

I’ve climbed those masts many a time in all weathers, sailing with her by day and by night.

Maria Asumpta was the oldest operational sailing ship in the world when i sailed with her, having been built in 1858, in Spain and very traditionally outfitted

She was a real 19th century working merchant ship, one of the very last, invaluable experience for a marine artist.

At the time I began this painting I live at Polmear Parc, tough but happy days.‘

I knew Marques”, the brig ‘Maria Asumpta and their people well, socially and professionally which includes my voyaging on ‘Maria Asumpta’.

I still have pictures made on board and a sketch with every rope named, made while I literally grasped the opportunity to learn the ropes.

To put her in perspective, ‘Maria Asumpta was built ten years before the world famous clipper ‘Cutty Sark’, another ship I know well and have painted more than a few times.

Charlestown has been the home of many square riggers and still often hosts spectacular old style sailing ships.

Charlestown, Cornwall, the port is little changed in the 25 + years since this painting was created.

Except it’s days as a commercial port shipping China Clay are now history.

Charlestown in black and white

Only a few of the drawings, described as “exquisite” by the head of the Mall Galleries, London, remain with me unsold and a few of the many of the photographs I have made of this lovely port.

Charlestown pictures
A sketch for the painting October Evening, Charlestown

You can buy these modestly priced drawings on my website.

Charlestown images
The ship Marques in Charlestown , Cornwall

Charlestown, a port of Cornwall, England:

The port was built by Charles Rashleigh in 1795 to help grow the china clay export industry.

Charlestown old drawings
Drawing the ship Marques in Charlestown

For many years ships would beach between tides at West Polmear as the port was then named, to unload and load, a risky affair requiring fine seamanship and good weather luck.

Charlestown images
A detail of a drawing I made at Charlestown.

One of the first ships of the new port and the largest at the time within the Port of Fowey was built in the same year almost certainly by her initial owner the very productive ship wright Thomas Shepheard of nearby Mevagissey.

Ships, early days at Charlestown

She was registered as “Charlestown of Charlestown”, as a barge, a 70 ton sloop.
She may even have been built on the beach in a nearby cove, at Polmear as Shepheard was also building on Polmear beach (5 vessels) in 1794 until 1798.

As was customary at that time, Thomas Shepheard sold shares in “Charlestown” to Joseph Dingle, merchant, Richard Williams and John Nancollas described as mariners of Saint Austell.

The ship had a long life until finally she “went absent” in 1850.


Thomas Shepheard seems to have been involved in “the trade” – smuggling, a “black economy” which reached its peak in 1805, much favoured by the Cornish and Welsh, literally moonlighting.

During the French Revolutionary, Napoleonic and American wars over 20% of Port of Fowey ships were seized by the Revenue for smuggling with their Breton cousins while less than 10% were lost to enemy action.

Thomas Shepheard built many a fast lugger, cutters and other fore and aft rigged craft, much favoured for “The Trade” for their speed, manoeuvrability, economy as well as their prized ability to sail close to the wind thus to enter and leave a beach or port more quickly than a square rigger.

During this period, the schooner rig gradually became more popular (see “I have urgent dispatches”) and unlike the American version, retained its square sails (see The Schooner Jane Banks leaving Fowey).

Nine of Shepheard’s vessels were sized and 4 went to the Port of Rye, East Sussex, another port notorious for smuggling gangs.

Not by chance, having trained as a shipwright at Falmouth Cornwall I went on to built and repair boats in Rye at 18/22 Rope Walk, during the 1970’s, as founder and M.D. of South East Boat Builders Ltd but that is another adventure story for another time, maybe.

Charlestown October Evening prints

Available as a signed limited edition print via our Print Gallery page

> with your credit card Purchase Now  < via Paypal, in any currency, or £/, or bank to bank; or in instalments by arrangement, contact Gordon Frickers.

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As with Par, Fowey and Pentewan, in the 1860’s the railways were extended to the port of Charlestown.
The copper and China clay mines in the area were very successful in the early and mid-19th century so the local ports and their ships thrived and expanded.

Large quantities of granite further contributed to the success of Charlestown port.

The port of Charlestown was for many years within the port and bounds of the Port of Fowey, Cornwall.

Today this delightful port remains largely as original and has been often used as a film set.

I can happily say,  “I was very fortunate to live near Charlestown. If you find yourself in the ancient granite kingdom of Cornwall be sure to take lunch at the Rashleigh Arms, Charlestown and I hope, raise a glass to my memory and that of Charles Rashleigh“.

The restaurant / hotel on the quay is highly recommended for it’s quaint, quiet, quality beers and meals, as is the Rashleigh Arms in the village at the head of the dock, visit, explore, enjoy!

You can acquire or commission an example of the art of Gordon Frickers 

October Evening, Port of Charlestown, Cornwall

Available as a signed limited edition print via our Print Gallery page

> with your credit card Purchase Now < via Paypal, in any currency, or £ or bank to bank; or in instalments by arrangement, contact Gordon Frickers.

How much in my currency?

Try this free XE Currency converter.

For value and investment when buying a new painting it’s hard to better buying from a recognised, dedicated, experienced artist – buy from a reputable, renowned artist direct from his studio.

Gordon Frickers is the only marine and maritime artist whose paintings have been honoured by a solo invitation to exhibit 35 paintings in the European Parliament (May 2011).

Frickers, Gordon
Gordon Frickers, artist, painter

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Gordon Frickers © updated 07.10.2020

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