I don't usually "re-post" a piece on the blog here but I thought this was an interesting exception.
Last year I worked on a project called Project Run-a-way - a theatrical performance that through individual monologues told the stories of a handful of slaves, indentured servants, and convict servants. In the stage background was a variety of projected imagery to accentuate their story, and amongst that imagery were a number of illustrations I created of pertinent characters.
One of these characters was the gentleman on our left, Captain Edward Dix. Captain of the HMS Menelaus of the British Royal Navy. A man known for his great character, honor and was responsible for the livelihood of one Maryland slave in particular, William 'Rolla' Ross.
A little while back something very interesting happened. My world of art-making and imagination was briefly touched by reality when I was contacted by a descendent of Captain Edward Dix. A man by the name of Ross Dix-Peek of Dublin, Ireland. He himself a writer & poet, had written an article on the life of his descendant. Being that the captain lived from 1778-1837 there are no known images of him and in fact when I depicted him I did so based solely upon the personality that came through in the script of Project Run-a-way. Because of this Mr. Dix-Peek merely wondered if he could have permission to use the piece for his article. And which of course, after a pleasant back & forth of emails, I was more than happy to give.
Here's an excerpt from the article, "The Life of Captain Edward Dix, Royal Navy (1778-1837)"...
What transpired is that only he (Dix) and eight others were to escape a subsequent outbreak of yellow fever, of which imprecation he knew well, and approximately thirty-three of the crew were to succumb, the Arab there-after returning to Spithead whereupon the remaining crew was paid off and the ship placed in ordinary at Woolwich and sold in September 1810. Dix, “worn as he was by incessant fatigue of body and distressing anxiety of mind, was the only officer it spared”. Years after, there were members of the crew who would often declare that it was thanks to the endeavours of Dix and his “active benevolence of character” that they were to survive, and that they were forever indebted to the “humane and tender assistance” of Edward Dix (to whom was also attributed “a strong constitution” and “a cheerful evenness of temper“). Of interest too, and further testament to his character is the fact that the procurement of the comforts and refreshments needed by the ailing crew was done thus through the utility of the young lieutenant’s slender purse which was stretched to the “uttermost”.
If you'd like to read the full article you can simply click HERE. I couldn't recommend it more highly. It's a short and wonderfully documented biography of an honorable man - one I'm pleased to have had the opportunity to visually interpret.
Hope you enjoy and I'll talk with you soon!