"The departure of John and Sebastian Cabot on their first voyage of discovery,1497" was painted by Ernest Board in 1906.
Board moved to Bristol from Worcester at an early age, and was educated here. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1902. He Joined the Bristol Savages artist society in 1907, and was made president in 1918. He died on 26th October 1934 aged 57.
The painting shows John Cabot and his son departing to explore what would later be known as the North American coast. The painting, though evocative is not accurate. Much of the dress is about fifty years out-of-date. Cabot and the Mayor would have worn rounded, not pointed shoes, and the head-dress of the elegant woman in white, to the left, was out-of-fashion. Few details of the painting survive analysis; if Abbot Newland and his canons had been present they would not have been wearing the vestments of High Mass and the heraldic devices and gaily-painted sails of the Matthew are more suited to a theatrical production than an Atlantic voyage.
You can see other paintings by Board including “Some who made Bristol famous” at M-shed, which also features Cabot. You can find out more about Cabot on our Historic Old City Walk .