Before I found out more about this whale, I took it
to be a fin whale on account of the colouration of the baleen. It turns
out however to have been a blue whale that was taken around Europe and
Britain on a tour on the back of a truck in the 1950's and 1960's. The
Times, 31 March, 1954 reported:
"South Bank Whale Jonah, the Giant
Whale" which is to be exhibited under Waterloo Bridge on the south
bank from April 2, arrived from Dunkirk yesterday in a Dutch coaster.
The vessel docked at Dagenham and the 65ft. rorqual was unloaded
on to a 10-wheeled lorry which transports it on land. The whale
had been touring Holland, Belgium, Germany and France since last
September and has been kept in good condition by an internal refrigeration
plant and daily injections of formalin. It was killed off Trondheim,
Norway in September 1952."
Such "events" drew crowds to see the enormous beasts.
It looks like in this one, the "whaler" if he indeed is, is to speak
about the whale and its capture. His foot is on an explosive harpoon
which would have been used to impale, kill or maim and hold the whale
and to his left is the broad bore cannon out of which the harpoon would
have been fired. The whale's mouth looks to be propped open by something
behind the whaler to show the baleen plates.
For more about "Jonah" the blue whale on tour see