José Javier Delgado Esteban

Photographer
Like Fish out of water
Location: Spain
Nationality: Spanish
Biography: I am a multi award-winning visual artist, photographer and new media developer. Throughout my early professional life in Spain I developed a strong interest in all aspects of photography, moving image, environmental, space sciences and natural... MORE
Public Story
Like Fish out of water
Copyright José Javier Delgado Esteban 2024
Updated Apr 2023
Topics environment [featured]
Summary
A 40-foot-long Sperm whale bull was washed up on the beach at Old Hunstanton, in Norfolk, UK. 26th December 2011
Under an ancient law of the United Kingdom, whales like this Sperm Whale are "Royal Fish" and when stranded on any public beach become the personal property of the monarch as part of her royal prerogative.

One of Herman Melville's inspirations for his "Moby Dick" was the skeleton exhibited at Burton Constable Hall in East Yorkshire.

That whale washed ashore at Tunstall on the 28th of April 1825 and like the one in this series became a tourist attraction, with people travelling to see its body and, in some cases, chopping bits off.

Thomas Beale wrote it up in his book: "The Natural History of the Sperm Whale" the main influence for Melville when researching Moby Dick. So when Melville was in England a few years later, this was a primary source of information.

While taking these pictures Her Royal Highness the late Queen Elizabeth the II was spending her Christmas holidays at Sandringham, only a few miles away. As I stood on the beach in typical English icy Winter temperatures, I could not help but to make a symbolic connection between "Royal Fish", Her Royal Highness, Constable, Melville and the "otherness" of a most majestic creature.
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