Anton Schranz, Snr (1769-1839)
PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
Anton Schranz, Snr (1769-1839)

The arrival of the Dowager Queen Adelaide aboard H.M.S. Hastings at the Grand Harbour, Valletta, 30 November 1838

Details
Anton Schranz, Snr (1769-1839)
The arrival of the Dowager Queen Adelaide aboard H.M.S. Hastings at the Grand Harbour, Valletta, 30 November 1838
oil on canvas
22 ½ x 34 in. (57.2 x 86.4 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 11 April 1980, lot 2 as Nelson's fleet leaving Malta.
with Roy Miles Fine Painting, London.
Literature
Can. J. Azzopardi, The Schranz Artists, Landscape and Marine Painters in the Mediterranean (active XIX Century), exhibition catalogue, illus. pl. 8, fig. 19.
Exhibited
Mdina, Cathedral Museum, The Schranz Artists, Landscape and Marine Painters in the Mediterranean (active XIX Century), 21 October - 11 November 1987.

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Lot Essay

In April 1837 Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort of the United Kingdom and Hanover became dangerously ill. Soon afterwards her husband William IV also fell fatally ill and died on 20 June 1837, the Crown transferring to Victoria. Adelaide was much loved by the population for her charitable works and it was decided that she should spend some time in the Mediterranean to recuperate.

In 1838 she sailed first to Gibraltar where on 17 October she attended the Consecration of the Holy Trinity Church before departing on H.M.S. Hastings on 18 October 1838 first to Naples on 29 October, thence to Palermo, Messina, thence to Malta. An unpublished diary of Queen Adelaide’s visit to Malta in 1838 by Chev. Joseph Galea, records events related to particular days on which they occurred – the diary was presented to the Dowager Queen as a souvenir of her gracious visit. It states that at about 11 o’ clock on Friday 30 November 1838 a sail flying the Royal Standard at her masthead appeared on the horizon. By signal it was known to be the Hastings. Radamanthus was ordered to get up her steam for the purpose of towing Hastings into port. A squadron under the command of Admiral Sir Robert Stopford consisting of 5 ships of the line led by Princess Charlotte 104 guns, Asia 84, Vanguard 80, Bellerophon 80, Minden 74, Barham 30, Carysport 26 and Wolverine 16 met Hastings. Royal salutes were fired, first by Hastings and then by the other ships assembled.

The painting by Anton Shranz depicts H.M.S. Hastings in the far distance flying the Royal Standard, towed by Radamanthus, at the entrance to Grand Harbour. She is preceded centre picture by Wolverine, herself preceded by Princess Charlotte while salutes are given by the assembled warships. To the left of H.M.S. Hastings the profile of Valletta is accurately depicted including the Alexander Ball monument and Barrakka Gardens. The iconic Il-gardjola watchtower at Senglea is shown between Wolverine and Princess Charlotte and in the foreground the equally iconic maltese vessels, the dghajsa water taxis and a canvas draped xprunara go about their business while watching the ceremony.

This painting was first exhibited at the Cathedral Museum, Mdina in 1987 exhibition The Schranz Artists, Landscape and Marine Painters in the Mediterranean (active XIX Century). A similar view of the scene largely derived from this painting but by Guiseppe Schranz is illustrated in Nicolas de Piro's The International Dictionary of Artists who painted Malta, 2nd Ed.,1988, p. 424, while a third version painted by Giovanni Schranz but viewed from behind Hastings as she is towed by Radamanthus was sold at Sotheby’s, London on 30 May 1996, lot 267 described as a British Man-of-War flying the Royal Standard.

Queen Adelaide remained in Malta into 1839 and donated the greater part of the cost of building St Paul’s Anglican pro-Cathedral in Valletta as she was concerned with the lack of facilities for worship by Anglicans on the island.

We are grateful to Ian Bouskill and Michael Naxton for their assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.
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