CPE CSGA CSPWC OSA RCA
1941 - 2022
oil monotype on paper
signed and dated 2001
9 x 12 in, 22.9 x 30.5 cm
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000 CAD
Sold for: $8,125
Private Collection, California
The A-10 suite by David Blackwood, Aequanimitas Inc., 2001, reproduced page 10
The International Code:
Joining the Canadian Federation in 1949 posed a problem for the master mariners of Newfoundland. They were now required to meet standard regulations of the Canadian Department of Transport in Ottawa. Generations of Blackwoods had navigated the ice filled waters of the Labrador Sea in schooners, and commanded ships searching for seals in the North Atlantic. These veteran seaman were now required to fill out applications and write examinations in order to obtain their master's "ticket". There was a period of grace, but by 1950 my father set about to prepare himself for this ordeal. Part of the federal government exam included the traditional flag signal system known as "the international code". To learn international code, my father created a complete set of flags in the form of playing cards. I remember each flag being carefully drawn in pencil on the blank inside surfaces of cereal box cardboard. Wax crayons were used to give each flag its distinctive pattern of colour. The reverse sides were marked with the corresponding letter for each flag, from A to Z and the numerals 1 through 10.
Having spent summers with my father aboard the schooner "Flora S. Nickerson", I had already learned to "read" the compass and manage the helm in the wheelhouse. It was now suggested that I should add the International Code and be prepared for "when the time comes".
Flags were very much a part of my Newfoundland childhood. In Bonavista North they were strung out to celebrate every special event, important arrivals and departures. Flags were flown and guns were fired to welcome political candidates, to indicate meetings and concerts, and to signal the hauling of a house. Every family home owned a flagpole and a death in the community would result in hundreds of flags flown at half mast as a sign of respect for the deceased.
-David Blackwood, Port Hope, 1998
All prices are in Canadian Dollars
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