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Picking Up the Anchor Line by Willy Sluiter, c. 1898

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oil on canvas, 80 x 90 cm, c. 1898, signed lower right, Katwijk, Katwijks Museum, inv. no. 2104 (‘De Klijnhaalder’)

In the fishing village of Katwijk on the North Sea the fishing boats were moored with anchor on the beach. This painting shows how a rider first rode through the water to the boat, picked up the anchor line, taking the skipper with him on the back of his horse to the beach. Here we see something very special. The skipper is sitting on his knees behind the rider and has to hold on tight to him. This position on horseback is of course only suitable for a very short distance, and unique to see in a painting. The other crew members had to wade through the water. We also see a great example here of human-equine relationship in the necessary work.

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