THE new Maritime exhibition at the Marlipins Museum in Shoreham impressed guests at a private view on Monday.
Sir Alan Massey, chief executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, was guest of honour. Visiting the High Street museum for the first time, he said it was ‘an absolute gem’.
He praised museum officer Emma O’Connor for the way the exhibition of ship portrait paintings had been put together.
“It is stunning, so beautifully hung and lit. A lot of that is down to the sheer hard work of individuals.
“The history of this nation is so endemically connected with the story of the sea and seafaring and we ought to take maritime history very seriously.”
Sussex Past chief executive Tristan Bareham said the volunteer researchers from Friends of Marlipins Museum had been keen to bring out the family connections to the ships in the exhibition.
Those connections were highlighted by the family of Commander Phineas Jupp, the captain of a ship featured in two of the paintings.
Great grandson Roger Jupp, his wife Madeline and their son Peter were among the guests.
Roger said he had donated the two pictures of The Light of the Age of Shoreham to the museum.
They show the ship in both foul and fair weather, a common pairing but unusually both are dated the same day, August 20, 1862.
The family took along a photo of Phineas, as well as his whistle and knife, which he had used on the ship.
Mrs Jupp, who has carried out a lot of research into the family history, said he had used the whistle to call his together, like the captain in the film The Sound of Music. That tradition had been carried through the family to her own children.
“We never took any notice, though,” Peter joked.
The Light of the Age of Shoreham, a brigatine used for coasting, was built in 1857. Phineas Jupp was listed as the master in the 1871 census, with a crew of one on board and seven ashore. Mrs Jupp said he often travelled to the Baltics and used names from the area for his children, such as Sebastapol, Balaclava and Moscowa.
The Marlipins Museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10.30am to 4.30pm. Admission is £2.50 adults, £1 children.