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Fishing

Introduction

Fishing for herring dominated the fishing along the East Coast, especially at Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft. But this is not the whole story. Following the coast from the Wash round to Essex, there were a number of different fishing operations, all set up to gain a living from the sea. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, whaling operated from King's Lynn, and along the north west and north norfolk coasts there was a thriving shell fishery, for mussels, cockles and whelks. At Cromer, crab fishing and longshore fishing dominated. Inland, on the Broads, freshwater catches such as eels were exploited. In Essex, at Mersea, Burnham on Crouch and Brightlingsea, whitebait and oyster fishing were of more significance.

Comments

Posted:2009 9 1 22:47:20 GMT
I understand that each Norfolk fishing port had its own distinctive Gansey pattern. Can you advise if it is possible to obtain a Great Yarmouth pattern? Many thanks
Sandra Scott Filby, Great Yarmouth
Posted:2009 9 2 16:03:51 GMT
Dear Sandra, I am uncertain whether there is a distinctive Gansey pattern for Great Yarmouth, but in the maritime archive at Time & Tide Museum we do have some general material about gansey patterns, so this might be of use. If you would like to arrange an appointment to view the archive, you can contact our curator Emma Davison on 01493 745526 or email on emma.davison@norfolk.gov.uk . Best Wishes Jo O'Donoghue
Jo O'Donoghue Great Yarmouth Museums
Posted:2009 9 28 23:15:18 GMT
I heard about 15 years ago, that there was only one person left who had knitted ganseys through her life and that the tradition was going to die out. Is that so? Can you tell me if ganseys are still available and sold anywhere now? Thank you.
Karen Limbrick, West Midlands
Posted:2009 9 29 16:09:57 GMT
Dear Karen, The tradition of kniting ganseys is certainly fading from contemporary culture but there still are people and groups that maintain the patterns. The Fishermans Heritage Centre's secretary Kathleen Bird, (Tel. 01263 824155) might be able to tell you more about ganseys today as this summer they had an exhibition devoted to the practice at their museum. The only company that I know of that sells ganseys is: Flamborough Marine Limited Traditional Knitwear & Hand-Knitted Ganseys The Manor House Flamborough Bridlington East Riding of Yorkshire YO15 1PD United Kingdom Telephone & fax: 01262 850943 http://www.flamboroughmarine.co.uk/ I hope this is of use. Best wishes
Johanna O'Donoghue Great Yarmouth Museums
Posted:2009 10 1 15:50:45 GMT
Dear Karen, One of my collegues has just told me of a woman that lives in Whitby that still knits ganseys. I'm afraid I don't have her contact details but her name is Deb Gillanders. Best wishes
Johanna O'Donoghue Great Yarmouth Museums
Posted:2009 12 16 15:55:24 GMT
Hi, Just to note that there are lots of people still knitting ganseys, albeit as a hobby rather than necessity! There are also plenty of places you can still buy 5-ply oiled wool, especially online.
Cate Bristol
Posted:2010 1 28 00:38:00 GMT
Deb Gillanders here; I wish I did but I don't knit Ganseys. However I am very interested in them, & am always delighted to answer any questions, if I can, & of course to hear information & stories about them. I suggest Wingham Wool Works, in Wentworth nr Rotherham as a good source of 5-ply Gansey wool.
Deb Gillanders Whitby
Posted:2010 2 26 22:32:49 GMT
I've just purchased a book 'Patterns for Guernseys,Jerseys and Arans' by Gladys Thompson from Amazon which has lots of gansey patterns including 2 from Sheringham! I have just finished a gansey from a pattern in another book for my middle son and I have included Cornish patterns and one of my own. I now want to knit a sheringham gansey but I am having problems sourcing the recommended yarn Patons 4-ply Beehive. Any ideas?
Jayne Delarre Moreton Essex
Posted:2010 3 2 17:07:40 GMT
I knit traditional ganseys. I am the organiser of the Gansey Scheme for the Knitting & Crochet Guild and collect patterns and information about them. I make them to order in traditional or custom designed patterns.
Rita Taylor Norfolk
Posted:2010 3 2 17:11:01 GMT
Patons do a wool mix yarn called Diploma in 4 ply. But there are several other companies that do 100% wool. King Cole do a nice Merino blend one.
Rita Taylor Norfolk
Posted:2010 6 24 22:37:48 GMT
old maritime men
Do you have any information from the late 1890's till 1920 ish about the men who worked on the seafront in Great Yarmouth. I am tracing family history and William James Coull who lived at 72 Marine Parade, and died 1930 was supposed to have had a francise for the deck chairs on the pier, or so I am told. We came to visit Great Yarmouth a couple of weeks ago and the people were so helpfull, allowing us to take photographs of their homes etc. I was ill prepared to do my searching but will be back to do more. Are there any Coulls left in your town who are possibly related, it would be nice to know, Thank you for your help Mrs Coull ccoull1@btinternet.com
Coleen Coull North Wales
Posted:2010 8 31 20:40:17 GMT
Knitting Ganseys
I teaching all manner of knitting skills in Bury St Edmunds. I shall be doing a class on knitting a miniature Gansy early in 2011. It will explain and teach techniques so that an adult garment can then be tackled. I am fascinated by the designs and wearability of these garments.Many of them were knitted whilst the women worked, cooked etc....what an example of multi-tasking!!! It is great to see people still interested in these garments. I didn't realise there was an archive at Gt Yarmouth and would love to see it sometime.
GILLIAN FULTON BURY ST EDMUNDS
Posted:2010 9 1 10:12:27 GMT
Maritime Archive in Great Yarmouth
Hi, It's lovely to see so many people interested in Ganseys. The Maritime East Archive at Time and Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth opened its doors for the first time on 24th October 2005. The collection represents one of the Eastern region’s most important maritime archives and includes over 2500 books covering a wealth of subjects from ship building, fishing, marine biology, lifesaving, naval history and yachting. There are over one hundred volumes on Nelson alone. In addition there is a large photographic archive of prints and slides totalling over 20,000 images of regional maritime interest and original documents including ship plans and seamen's charts. The extensive history files contain a wealth of information from original source material covering all areas of the region’s unique maritime heritage. The opening of the archive comes at an exciting time as Time and Tide develops further as a centre of Maritime Excellence on the East Coast. If you would like to use the Maritime East Archive at Time and Tide please make an appointment for this free service. The archive is open, by appointment, on Mondays between 10.30 - 12.30 and 1.30 - 3.30pm. Please contact Johanna.odonoghue@norfolk.gov.uk or ring the Great Yarmouth Museums office on 01493 745 526
Jo O'Donoghue Time & Tide Museum
Posted:2010 10 9 16:52:50 GMT
rita taylor
hi rita i would like to contact you as i want to buy a handknitted gansey thanks elliott coven1987@aol.com
elliott birmingham
Posted:2010 11 19 16:50:16 GMT
fishermens knitwear in todays culture
Hi! i'm a final year fashion student doing my dissertation on the gasney and the origins of each of the patterns. I'm looking for any information or comments you may have regarding the ganseys place in society today? do you feel it has lost its original meaning, are many people still aware of its origins? what do you feel are the connotations surrounding this type of knitwear today? any help is appreciated! thanks so much and i'd like to say ive found your website extremely helpful :) carolyn www.meatkneck.wordpress.com
carolyn aberdeen
Posted:2011 3 28 15:58:44 GMT
Ganseys in todays culture
Hi Carolyn, I knit ganseys for the family. Although only of minor interest to many people I and my family value them highly. There is nothing like a gansey for wearing instead of a coat, to keep warm after being at the coast and swimming, to wear in the evening at a beach bbq etc. In addition we ride motorcycles where the design still proves its worth. What else would provide such warmth and repell damp whislt not restricting movement and fitting under close protective clothing. All the old style elements of sensible design still prove their worth. Not to long in the body and with a split at the base to facilitate sitting and the ability to hold work on the lap (fishing nets or mechanical parts) without damaging the knitted fabric. Use of gussetts to facilitate moveability whilst allowing a close fitting design. The patterns as well as looking decorative allow air pockets which promote warmth. The use of channel island cast on and the resulting wee knots at the base to hinder the fraying of the fabric. Then, yes, having been knitted from the shoulder to the base I do unravel the sleeve or the neck to maintain the use of the garment after the first wearmarks make them selves felt. As to patterns I pick elements that have been used in the past to represent something of meaning to the wearer today. So zig-zag marriage lines are used to represent the bends in a road. Cabels to represent the chain on a bike, straight lines for the distance travelled and typical patterns from geographical areas to represnted places visited. I use frangipani guernsey wool. They have a very rich colour selection and deep tones which please and fascinate the eye especially when combined with every day clothing. At the other end of the scale the Jack Wills 2010 summer catalogue was offering their version of a gansey - what smarter and no doubt does striling work at festivals and after a days surfing. All the best Melanie
Melanie Belfast
Posted:2011 11 12 17:39:14 GMT
Importance to the community
Hi! I'm a final year Textile Design student at Edinburgh and for both my design work and dissertation I have been researching Ganseys, or Guernseys as they are sometimes called. Initial research has come from the Channel Islands but I'm really keen to contact anyone that can share any insight into this vanishing heritage. Please can anyone that knits Ganseys still get in contact or any one that knows of people/places to contact. I'd love to hear about the importance of knitting Ganseys in the past and whether the tradition still lives on. This website has been immensely helpful! My email address is s1154905@sms.ed.ac.uk and some of my initial textile work is at www.wix.com/philippahill/textiles Much thanks!
Philippa Hill Edinburgh
Posted:2011 11 12 17:39:16 GMT
Importance to the community
Hi! I'm a final year Textile Design student at Edinburgh and for both my design work and dissertation I have been researching Ganseys, or Guernseys as they are sometimes called. Initial research has come from the Channel Islands but I'm really keen to contact anyone that can share any insight into this vanishing heritage. Please can anyone that knits Ganseys still get in contact or any one that knows of people/places to contact. I'd love to hear about the importance of knitting Ganseys in the past and whether the tradition still lives on. This website has been immensely helpful! My email address is s1154905@sms.ed.ac.uk and some of my initial textile work is at www.wix.com/philippahill/textiles Much thanks!
Philippa Hill Edinburgh
Posted:2011 11 12 18:20:24 GMT
Ganseys
How encouraging to find a great interest in the traditional Gensey.It is fullfiling to know that the tradisional skills are still about and not being consigned to the archives not to be seen again,this has happened to many of our traditions.
George , the Folk Singer Rugby
Posted:2012 2 15 15:03:55 GMT
Origins
Does anyone know the origins of Ganseys - where, when, what for? Also in the migration of the last couple of centuries - did fisherman wear them in other countries? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Gary gnimmo@hotmail.com
Gary Nimmo Aberdeen
Posted:2012 8 15 20:14:32 GMT
Norfolk ganseys
Hi, Does anyone know if there is a a pattern for Kings Lynn are ganseys?
Donna Cambridge
Posted:2013 10 24 21:16:55 GMT
Lowestoft Ganseys
Hello, I am a textiles degree student and I am looking at Lowestofts fishing industry. I am looking for particular knitting patterns which were popular or examples of Lowestofts fishing gansey, Can anyone help me? Thank you my email is kay.worton@aol.com I would be very greatful if anyone could give me some information.
Kay Norwich/Lowestoft
Posted:2014 7 3 08:22:10 GMT
Cromer Ganseys
Does anyone have a pattern for a Cromer gansey? I'd love to knit one for my father-in-law. My email is jess.willey@hotmail.co.uk.
Jess Norwich
Posted:2014 9 27 10:34:36 GMT
Ronald Sabiston
I am 84 years old and I am still knitting my own Ganseys.I was born in Cullercoats Northumberland in a fishing family and it was my Grandmother who taught me to knit
Ronald Sabiston Redcar

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Fishing

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How Ganseys were Knitted

The technique of knitting ganseys is not especially difficult, in theory.

They are knitted ‘ in the round’ on five or more needles. First comes the casting on, which is often done in double wool for strength and then a welt in rib or ridges.

Knitting continues in the round in stocking stitch, with a false seam created by a column of purl stitches down each side. Half way up the body the pattern begins, usually divided from the plain part by ridges. When it reaches the bottom of the armholes it divides into identical ‘ front’ and ‘back’ and the ends of each row are held temporarily on spare needles or a loop of yarn.

The patterned yoke is knitted back and forth until the shoulders are reached. Here the shoulder strap is created from a series of ridges and back and front are grafted together. The stitches are picked up around the armhole and the sleeve knitted down to the cuff. There is often a gusset under the arm and another feature is that the false side-seam is continued down the underside of the arm to the cuff. The cuffs are cast off at the bottom end, which gives the opportunity if need be for repairs to be made by unravelling from the cuff and re-knitting it.

The gansey is finished by picking up the stitches around the neck and knitting a short stand-up collar in rib and casting off at the top.

 

Comments

Posted:2009 9 1 22:47:20 GMT
I understand that each Norfolk fishing port had its own distinctive Gansey pattern. Can you advise if it is possible to obtain a Great Yarmouth pattern? Many thanks
Sandra Scott Filby, Great Yarmouth
Posted:2009 9 2 16:03:51 GMT
Dear Sandra, I am uncertain whether there is a distinctive Gansey pattern for Great Yarmouth, but in the maritime archive at Time & Tide Museum we do have some general material about gansey patterns, so this might be of use. If you would like to arrange an appointment to view the archive, you can contact our curator Emma Davison on 01493 745526 or email on emma.davison@norfolk.gov.uk . Best Wishes Jo O'Donoghue
Jo O'Donoghue Great Yarmouth Museums
Posted:2009 9 28 23:15:18 GMT
I heard about 15 years ago, that there was only one person left who had knitted ganseys through her life and that the tradition was going to die out. Is that so? Can you tell me if ganseys are still available and sold anywhere now? Thank you.
Karen Limbrick, West Midlands
Posted:2009 9 29 16:09:57 GMT
Dear Karen, The tradition of kniting ganseys is certainly fading from contemporary culture but there still are people and groups that maintain the patterns. The Fishermans Heritage Centre's secretary Kathleen Bird, (Tel. 01263 824155) might be able to tell you more about ganseys today as this summer they had an exhibition devoted to the practice at their museum. The only company that I know of that sells ganseys is: Flamborough Marine Limited Traditional Knitwear & Hand-Knitted Ganseys The Manor House Flamborough Bridlington East Riding of Yorkshire YO15 1PD United Kingdom Telephone & fax: 01262 850943 http://www.flamboroughmarine.co.uk/ I hope this is of use. Best wishes
Johanna O'Donoghue Great Yarmouth Museums
Posted:2009 10 1 15:50:45 GMT
Dear Karen, One of my collegues has just told me of a woman that lives in Whitby that still knits ganseys. I'm afraid I don't have her contact details but her name is Deb Gillanders. Best wishes
Johanna O'Donoghue Great Yarmouth Museums
Posted:2009 12 16 15:55:24 GMT
Hi, Just to note that there are lots of people still knitting ganseys, albeit as a hobby rather than necessity! There are also plenty of places you can still buy 5-ply oiled wool, especially online.
Cate Bristol
Posted:2010 1 28 00:38:00 GMT
Deb Gillanders here; I wish I did but I don't knit Ganseys. However I am very interested in them, & am always delighted to answer any questions, if I can, & of course to hear information & stories about them. I suggest Wingham Wool Works, in Wentworth nr Rotherham as a good source of 5-ply Gansey wool.
Deb Gillanders Whitby
Posted:2010 2 26 22:32:49 GMT
I've just purchased a book 'Patterns for Guernseys,Jerseys and Arans' by Gladys Thompson from Amazon which has lots of gansey patterns including 2 from Sheringham! I have just finished a gansey from a pattern in another book for my middle son and I have included Cornish patterns and one of my own. I now want to knit a sheringham gansey but I am having problems sourcing the recommended yarn Patons 4-ply Beehive. Any ideas?
Jayne Delarre Moreton Essex
Posted:2010 3 2 17:07:40 GMT
I knit traditional ganseys. I am the organiser of the Gansey Scheme for the Knitting & Crochet Guild and collect patterns and information about them. I make them to order in traditional or custom designed patterns.
Rita Taylor Norfolk
Posted:2010 3 2 17:11:01 GMT
Patons do a wool mix yarn called Diploma in 4 ply. But there are several other companies that do 100% wool. King Cole do a nice Merino blend one.
Rita Taylor Norfolk
Posted:2010 6 24 22:37:48 GMT
old maritime men
Do you have any information from the late 1890's till 1920 ish about the men who worked on the seafront in Great Yarmouth. I am tracing family history and William James Coull who lived at 72 Marine Parade, and died 1930 was supposed to have had a francise for the deck chairs on the pier, or so I am told. We came to visit Great Yarmouth a couple of weeks ago and the people were so helpfull, allowing us to take photographs of their homes etc. I was ill prepared to do my searching but will be back to do more. Are there any Coulls left in your town who are possibly related, it would be nice to know, Thank you for your help Mrs Coull ccoull1@btinternet.com
Coleen Coull North Wales
Posted:2010 8 31 20:40:17 GMT
Knitting Ganseys
I teaching all manner of knitting skills in Bury St Edmunds. I shall be doing a class on knitting a miniature Gansy early in 2011. It will explain and teach techniques so that an adult garment can then be tackled. I am fascinated by the designs and wearability of these garments.Many of them were knitted whilst the women worked, cooked etc....what an example of multi-tasking!!! It is great to see people still interested in these garments. I didn't realise there was an archive at Gt Yarmouth and would love to see it sometime.
GILLIAN FULTON BURY ST EDMUNDS
Posted:2010 9 1 10:12:27 GMT
Maritime Archive in Great Yarmouth
Hi, It's lovely to see so many people interested in Ganseys. The Maritime East Archive at Time and Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth opened its doors for the first time on 24th October 2005. The collection represents one of the Eastern region’s most important maritime archives and includes over 2500 books covering a wealth of subjects from ship building, fishing, marine biology, lifesaving, naval history and yachting. There are over one hundred volumes on Nelson alone. In addition there is a large photographic archive of prints and slides totalling over 20,000 images of regional maritime interest and original documents including ship plans and seamen's charts. The extensive history files contain a wealth of information from original source material covering all areas of the region’s unique maritime heritage. The opening of the archive comes at an exciting time as Time and Tide develops further as a centre of Maritime Excellence on the East Coast. If you would like to use the Maritime East Archive at Time and Tide please make an appointment for this free service. The archive is open, by appointment, on Mondays between 10.30 - 12.30 and 1.30 - 3.30pm. Please contact Johanna.odonoghue@norfolk.gov.uk or ring the Great Yarmouth Museums office on 01493 745 526
Jo O'Donoghue Time & Tide Museum
Posted:2010 10 9 16:52:50 GMT
rita taylor
hi rita i would like to contact you as i want to buy a handknitted gansey thanks elliott coven1987@aol.com
elliott birmingham
Posted:2010 11 19 16:50:16 GMT
fishermens knitwear in todays culture
Hi! i'm a final year fashion student doing my dissertation on the gasney and the origins of each of the patterns. I'm looking for any information or comments you may have regarding the ganseys place in society today? do you feel it has lost its original meaning, are many people still aware of its origins? what do you feel are the connotations surrounding this type of knitwear today? any help is appreciated! thanks so much and i'd like to say ive found your website extremely helpful :) carolyn www.meatkneck.wordpress.com
carolyn aberdeen
Posted:2011 3 28 15:58:44 GMT
Ganseys in todays culture
Hi Carolyn, I knit ganseys for the family. Although only of minor interest to many people I and my family value them highly. There is nothing like a gansey for wearing instead of a coat, to keep warm after being at the coast and swimming, to wear in the evening at a beach bbq etc. In addition we ride motorcycles where the design still proves its worth. What else would provide such warmth and repell damp whislt not restricting movement and fitting under close protective clothing. All the old style elements of sensible design still prove their worth. Not to long in the body and with a split at the base to facilitate sitting and the ability to hold work on the lap (fishing nets or mechanical parts) without damaging the knitted fabric. Use of gussetts to facilitate moveability whilst allowing a close fitting design. The patterns as well as looking decorative allow air pockets which promote warmth. The use of channel island cast on and the resulting wee knots at the base to hinder the fraying of the fabric. Then, yes, having been knitted from the shoulder to the base I do unravel the sleeve or the neck to maintain the use of the garment after the first wearmarks make them selves felt. As to patterns I pick elements that have been used in the past to represent something of meaning to the wearer today. So zig-zag marriage lines are used to represent the bends in a road. Cabels to represent the chain on a bike, straight lines for the distance travelled and typical patterns from geographical areas to represnted places visited. I use frangipani guernsey wool. They have a very rich colour selection and deep tones which please and fascinate the eye especially when combined with every day clothing. At the other end of the scale the Jack Wills 2010 summer catalogue was offering their version of a gansey - what smarter and no doubt does striling work at festivals and after a days surfing. All the best Melanie
Melanie Belfast
Posted:2011 11 12 17:39:14 GMT
Importance to the community
Hi! I'm a final year Textile Design student at Edinburgh and for both my design work and dissertation I have been researching Ganseys, or Guernseys as they are sometimes called. Initial research has come from the Channel Islands but I'm really keen to contact anyone that can share any insight into this vanishing heritage. Please can anyone that knits Ganseys still get in contact or any one that knows of people/places to contact. I'd love to hear about the importance of knitting Ganseys in the past and whether the tradition still lives on. This website has been immensely helpful! My email address is s1154905@sms.ed.ac.uk and some of my initial textile work is at www.wix.com/philippahill/textiles Much thanks!
Philippa Hill Edinburgh
Posted:2011 11 12 17:39:16 GMT
Importance to the community
Hi! I'm a final year Textile Design student at Edinburgh and for both my design work and dissertation I have been researching Ganseys, or Guernseys as they are sometimes called. Initial research has come from the Channel Islands but I'm really keen to contact anyone that can share any insight into this vanishing heritage. Please can anyone that knits Ganseys still get in contact or any one that knows of people/places to contact. I'd love to hear about the importance of knitting Ganseys in the past and whether the tradition still lives on. This website has been immensely helpful! My email address is s1154905@sms.ed.ac.uk and some of my initial textile work is at www.wix.com/philippahill/textiles Much thanks!
Philippa Hill Edinburgh
Posted:2011 11 12 18:20:24 GMT
Ganseys
How encouraging to find a great interest in the traditional Gensey.It is fullfiling to know that the tradisional skills are still about and not being consigned to the archives not to be seen again,this has happened to many of our traditions.
George , the Folk Singer Rugby
Posted:2012 2 15 15:03:55 GMT
Origins
Does anyone know the origins of Ganseys - where, when, what for? Also in the migration of the last couple of centuries - did fisherman wear them in other countries? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Gary gnimmo@hotmail.com
Gary Nimmo Aberdeen
Posted:2012 8 15 20:14:32 GMT
Norfolk ganseys
Hi, Does anyone know if there is a a pattern for Kings Lynn are ganseys?
Donna Cambridge
Posted:2013 10 24 21:16:55 GMT
Lowestoft Ganseys
Hello, I am a textiles degree student and I am looking at Lowestofts fishing industry. I am looking for particular knitting patterns which were popular or examples of Lowestofts fishing gansey, Can anyone help me? Thank you my email is kay.worton@aol.com I would be very greatful if anyone could give me some information.
Kay Norwich/Lowestoft
Posted:2014 7 3 08:22:10 GMT
Cromer Ganseys
Does anyone have a pattern for a Cromer gansey? I'd love to knit one for my father-in-law. My email is jess.willey@hotmail.co.uk.
Jess Norwich
Posted:2014 9 27 10:34:36 GMT
Ronald Sabiston
I am 84 years old and I am still knitting my own Ganseys.I was born in Cullercoats Northumberland in a fishing family and it was my Grandmother who taught me to knit
Ronald Sabiston Redcar

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Fishing

Theme: Fishing

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photograph, colour slide, photographer Dr A.J. Stuart, 1992. Artist Sam Brown worked with Tony Stuart to envisage what the West Runton elephant looked like - this is one of his sketches. 1992

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photograph, colour slide, photographer Dr A.J. Stuart, 1992. Artist Sam Brown worked with Tony Stuart to envisage what the West Runton elephant looked like - this is one of his sketches. 1992