France | Brittany

Tan sails

One Breton seagoing tradition consisted of colouring the sails a yellowy brown to protect them from mildew and heat. The technique involved mixing plant debris (often crushed pine bark and/or fruit husks) with lard and salt water, then brushing the mixture onto the sails, giving them their characteristic hue.

[peinture #00005]
Douarnenez wharf in the port of Le Rosmeur, with boats with red ochre sails made from flax grown in Brittany and probably woven in Locronan. Menez-Hom in the background.
France, Brittany, Finistère, Douarnenez, Port of Le Rosmeur
Study, gouache, on white paper
Credit: Frédéric Back
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