• Maritime Art auction at Christies

    Sale 5949

    Maritime Art

    11 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 22

    Thomas Luny (1759-1837)

    The Honourable East India Company's ship General Goddard passing along the enemy's line to bring the Dutch Commander to action on the morning of 14th June, 1795, off St. Helena

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Thomas Luny (1759-1837)
    The Honourable East India Company's ship General Goddard passing along the enemy's line to bring the Dutch Commander to action on the morning of 14th June, 1795, off St. Helena
    signed and dated 'T/.Luny./.1797.' (lower left, on a spar)
    oil on canvas
    45¼ x 72¼ in. (114.9 x 183.5 cm.)


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    Named for Thomas Goddard, a distinguished officer in the Indian military who died at sea in 1783, the Honourable East India Company's ship General Goddard was built in Randall's yard at Rotherhithe for Mr. William Money, her managing owner. Measured at 800 tons, she was 117 feet in length with a 36 foot beam and was launched on 30th January 1782, just after the conclusion of her namesake's very successful campaign against the Mahrattas.

    Under her first master, Captain Thomas Foxall, she made three round trips to the east (during her first decade of service), two to India and one to China via the Coromandel Coast. Soon after returning home in June 1790, she was sold to Robert Wigram, one of the most prominent shipowners in the East India trade, and embarked on her maiden voyage under her new owner's colours on 16th February 1792, bound for Bengal (Calcutta). Returning in May 1793, she sailed for Bengal again in May and it was whilst on her way home, in the summer of 1795, that she became involved in a celebrated incident in the South Atlantic.

    In the early hours of 14th June 1795, when off the island of St. Helena, Captain Money sighted a fleet of twenty-one Dutch East Indiamen and sailed right into its centre. Although some of the Dutch vessels fired on the General Goddard, she did not reply but kept her station until daybreak whereupon the 64-gun H.M.S. Sceptre, cruising out of Cape Town, came upon the scene. Between them, the two ships forced the surrender of seven of the Dutchmen which were taken into St. Helena as prizes. When subsequently sold, the proceeds made Captains Money and Essington (of the Sceptre) rich men and also made both their reputations within their respective services. After one further round trip to Bengal, General Goddard was sold into the West Indian trade but, in January 1800, was captured by a Spanish 80-gun 1st Rate off Cuba, whilst on passage from London to Jamaica, and taken into Havana as a prize; her eventual fate is unknown.

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    Literature

    P. Gosse, St. Helena, London, 1938, pp. 220-4 (illustrated).
    Sir E. Cotton, East Indiaman, The East India Company's Maritime Service, London, 1949, p. 166 (footnote).