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    Sale 7489

    Important Maritime Art

    31 October 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 47

    Thomas Whitcombe (c.1752-1824)

    An East Indiaman in two positions off Dover, with the pilot cutter approaching off her starboard bow

    Price Realised  

    Thomas Whitcombe (c.1752-1824)
    An East Indiaman in two positions off Dover, with the pilot cutter approaching off her starboard bow
    signed and dated 'Thos. Whitcombe 1810' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    32 x 48 in. (81.3 x 122 cm.)


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    Although this fine portrait depicts an unnamed armed merchantman off Dover, the ship herself is almost certainly an East Indiaman embarking upon her maiden voyage, the usual reason for the commissioning of a work such as this. Most Indiamen during this period of the Napoleonic Wars loaded their outward-bound cargoes in London's docks and then, either singly or in company with others, made their way to Portsmouth from whence they sailed east in convoy.

    In all, nine East Indiamen made their maiden departures in 1810, the date of this portrait, but seven can be excluded immediately by virtue of their size - one is far larger than the vessel shown here and six are similarly too small. The two ships remaining were called Astell and Thomas Grenville, 820 and 889 tons respectively, and both sailed from Portsmouth in August 1810, within a fortnight of each other. No portraits of either have so far been located but were any to be so, the identity of this vessel could then be confirmed.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Provenance

    with Frost & Reed, London.