The vantage point
We are at the western end of the port, at the junction of Pierre Forgas Quay and Francois Joly Quay. The support is situated not far from the building that used to be the Hotel du Commerce, where the Mackintosh couple stayed during their time in the region.
Nowadays, the Forgas Quay is reserved for the most part for the mooring of pleasure boats and at the end, docking for the last Port-Vendres’ trawler, the Maria-Jose-Gabriel, which sells its fish in a little wooden shelter situated on the same quay.
The watercolour represents the Forgas Quay looking towards the north-east.
On this quay, which in the 1920s was the main, and very active quay of Port-Vendres, CR Mackintosh painted a three white-masted ship at anchor and a goods depot. In the axis of the quay we find the buildings of the rue du Soleil and at the very furthest, the jetty protecting the bay of Port-Vendres during strong gales from the South and South East.
To the right of the watercolour part of the south-eastern bank of the harbour is represented. In those days that side was hardly active (apart from the Republic Quay, also called the Quay of the Douanes (Customs), and not visible in this watercolour).
From the distance to the closest part CR Mackintosh represented three redoubts or military forts for the defence of the port of the XVI and XVII century:
The very refined palette is divided between greys and more coloured parts, the highlight of which is the orange spot on the boat, which thus becomes the main focus of the image.
The Bear redoubt has been inscribed in the inventory of historic monuments since the 6th June 1933. This monument belongs to the Pyrenees Orientales Chamber of Commerce and Industry but is only rarely visited. Recently renovated and changed to be the museum of the African Army, since 1986 it has also housed the monument of Sidi Ferruch, which commemorates the conquest of Algeria. This monument is the work of Emile Gaudissard, French architect, sculptor, painter, illustrator, tapestry maker, decorator and writer, born in Algeria on 15th December 1872 and died in Paris on 19th August 1956. This monument was erected on 14th June 1930 at Sidi Ferruch, on the west coast of Algeria, the very place where the French troops had landed 100 years before. The bas-relief sculptures represent the union of France and Algeria.
The Fort of the Presqu’ile (Peninsula) no longer exists and its area has been totally transformed. In fact, shortly after this work was painted, in 1929, the Presqu’ile was dynamited, along with the Fort, to create a new quay, extending the Quai de Douanes (Customs Quay).
Remark: to paint this work the artist was further along the quay in a north-easterly direction: here