Virginia Conceptual Design
Bev Bevilaqua did the initial historical research for Virginia in 1997 and 1998. This drawing and watercolor are designed to show what the pinnace Virginia would have looked like historically. This research included a trip to England, and an extensive search of shipbuilding documents and images from the late 16th and early 17th century.
Bev Bevilaqua of Phippsburg Maine was a well known Maine artist working mostly in watercolor.
Maine’s First Ship was founded in 1997 as The Virginia Project by a group mostly living in Phippsburg Maine (the location of the Popham Colony). One of the founders, Jane Stevens, actually lived within the boundaries of the Fort St George site. Bev Bevilaqua had a home and studio a few miles north of the site.
The only drawing we have of the original Virginia is the small detail of a pinnace next to the jetty on the north side of Fort St George. We also have the description of it as a “pretty pinnace of 30-tunnes”. At the time this plan was drawn, the only work done on Virginia was to harvest and saw some lumber. This drawing is a common representation of a coastal vessel put on maps of the time to indicate that this was coastal navigatable water.
We know that the settlers came with the intention of building this pinnace, and included a shipwright (Digby of London) and presumably a number of skilled ships carpenters. There were also sawyers and general laborers. The sails and ropes were brought from England