This image of an imprisoned Cornish smuggler that was created as part of an exhibition that I organised in Looe in 2011.

Looe, which is a small coastal town with a rich history of smuggling, acted as my inspirational backdrop for my 2011 exhibition.

About “The Prisoner” | Imprisoned Cornish Smuggler Drawing

As mentioned in the opening paragraph, the image is a depiction of a Cornish smuggler that was caught by Revenue & Customs and thrown into the town Goal in Looe.

In the Old Guildhall in East Looe, where the museum now sits, it also housed 2 small cells at the bottom of the building.

It was from these cells where I got my inspiration for the picture.

Who was thrown into these cold cells for their crimes?

Was it the local drunkards? Brawling fisherman, Petty smugglers, thieves, pirates!

It was enough to send the imagination wild.

If only stone could talk… what secrets and whispers have those walls heard?

The narrative for the smuggler / prisoner

With my imagination suitably sated! I started to draw.

How would it have felt in those cells, what crimes had they committed to end up there? Who would end up in there?

Was the prisoner guilty of something terrible? Was the crime committed for gain or out of desperation?

I wanted to convey a dishevelled prisoner with chaffing sores and cuts from their manacle.

I wanted the scene to convey a feeling of pity and discomfort with bone aching cold seeping in from the external walls.

The emotion of the illustration

The prisoner is sat upon the cold ground considering his predicament and how could not be in those situations.

I wanted the image to capture: coldness, loneliness, silence, pain, discomfort, filth, and place that you would sooner not be.

For a smuggler though, and it being Looe in the golden age of piracy – Smuggling was a way of life for some people. His pity may be quickly forgotten once he returns to the sea to continue his life as a smuggler.

Medium for Cornish Smuggler (Prisoner)

The drawing was sketched out on Cartridge paper and rendering in using graphite sticks – shifting between HB and 4B.

For more information on this piece of artwork feel free to get in touch. Signed and certified prints can be made on request.
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Other Smuggler of Folklore Themed artwork

An imprisoned Cornish smuggler (The Prisoner) – copyright Jimm Odell, JD Illustration | Originally drawn 2011.