[Daily article] February 9: Youth on the Prow, and Pleasure at the Helm

Youth on the Prow, and Pleasure at the Helm is an 1832 painting by
English artist William Etty. It was inspired by a metaphor in Thomas
Gray’s poem The Bard in which the apparently bright start to the misrule
of Richard II of England was compared to a gilded ship whose occupants
are unaware of an approaching storm. Etty chose to illustrate Gray’s
lines literally, showing a golden boat filled with and surrounded by
nude and near-nude figures. The Bard was about a curse on the House of
Plantagenet placed by a Welsh bard following Edward I’s attempts to
eradicate Welsh culture, and critics felt that Etty had misunderstood
its point. Some reviewers praised the piece, and in particular Etty’s
technical abilities, but audiences of the time found it hard to
understand, and the use of nudity led some critics to consider the
painting tasteless and offensive. It was bought in 1832 by Robert
Vernon. In 1847 Vernon donated his collection to the National Gallery,
which in turn transferred it to the Tate Gallery in 1949. Youth and
Pleasure remains one of Etty’s best-known works, and formed part of
major exhibitions in 2001–02 and 2011–12.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


After no presidential candidate received a majority of
electoral votes, the U.S. House of Representatives elected John Quincy
Adams president.


The Svalbard Treaty was signed, recognizing Norwegian
sovereignty over the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, but all signatories
were also given equal rights to engage in commercial activities on the


The Boeing 747 made its first flight, with test pilots Jack
Waddell and Brien Wygle at the controls and Jess Wallick at the flight
engineer’s station.


The Australian Defence Force was formed by the unification of
the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian
Air Force.


The American submarine USS Greeneville accidentally collided
with the Ehime Maru, a Japanese training vessel operated by the Uwajima
Fishery High School.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

Judas goat:
1. A goat trained to lead other goats to a place of slaughter.
2. A goat trained to find feral goats.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend When people can be
so cold They’ll hurt you, yes, and desert you And take your soul if you
let them Oh, but don’t you let them.  
–Carole King

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