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SS ASCANIUS

Date: c 1920
Dimensions:
Overall: 600 x 765 mm, 3.56 kg
Image: 340 x 490 mm
Mount: 600 x 765 mm
Sight: 340 x 490 mm
Medium: Watercolour, paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00037894
Place Manufactured:Sydney
Related Place:Millers Point,

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    Description
    A watercolour by Charles Ephraim Smith Tindall titled 'Observatory Hill Millers Point, SS ASCANIUS'.

    It depicts SS ASCANIUS in Walsh Bay in Sydney with the Observatory Hill directly behind. The ship is ready to depart with a tug ready to pull it to the shipping lane. Other ships, two tugs and vaguely suggested wharf are in the background
    SignificanceThis painting of the working harbour of Sydney is a record of the passenger liners which served Sydney in the 1920s and 1930s and of the distinguished Blue Funnel Line. It is also a portait of SS ASCANIUS which was an interesting vessel which had a long career, serving in two world wars and finishing its life at the beginning of the post-war migration period.
    HistoryScottish - born Charles Ephraim Smith Tindall (1863-1951 ) was best known for his watercolour paintings of shipping in Sydney Harbour and his country landscapes. A commercial artist, he had trained in lithographic art in Glasgow. He
    migrated to Sydney in1887,and had lessons with Charles Conder, JR Ashton, and Frank Mahony. He was a member of the Royal Art Society and a foundation member of the Australian Watercolour Institute. Australian National Maritime Museum has two other paintings by Tindall, both watercolours painted in or about 1919.
    SS ASCANIUS was a Blue Funnel Line passenger liner on the England - Australian service, registered in Liverpool. It was one of three passenger ships ordered in 1908 by the Ocean Steam Ship Co. Ltd for a first-class passenger service to Australia, the others being AENEAS and ANCHISES, named for the legendary founder of Italy and his
    father. Alfred Holt & Company, owners of Ocean SS Co., named most of their ships after mythological figures.
    ASCANIUS was the second ship of that name in Holt's fleet, which at that time numbered 62 ships and was
    continuing to expand. ASCANIUS was a steel twin screw steamer of 10,048 gross tons, built in 1910 by
    Workman, Clark & Co. Ltd Belfast, with accommodation for 288 first class passengers.The ship made its maiden voyage from Glasgow to Liverpool to Brisbane in 1911. During World War I it served as a troopship with the Australian
    Expeditionary Force and was taken over by the Liner Requisition Scheme. In 1920 it resumed its Australian duties. In 1924, with declining demand for passenger services, Holt's passenger ships entered in to a joint service with the White Star Line, with the Aberdeen Line joining in 1926.

    ASCANIUS'S first class accommodation was reduced to 188, perhaps reflecting an increased demand for cheaper accommodation. In 1940 the ship was again taken over as a troopship. It was torpedoed in 1944 but managed to
    reach Liverpool safely. In 1945 ASCANIUS carried Jewishe migrants from Marseilles to Haifa. In 1949 it was sold to an Italian company, renamed San Giannino for a projected migrant service to Australia which did not eventuate, and was laid up and scrapped in 1952.

    The scene painted by Tindall could have been at anytime between 1920 and 1940, but other elements in the picture, especially a bare-pole sailing ship at a nearby wharf, suggest the early part of the period. Although Tindall titled the scene Millers Point, he was probably alluding to the general location. ASCANIUS is actually in Walsh Bay and appears to be pulling out from the berth behind it, which can be identified as No.8, because the artist has shown the initials NKY on then extberth to the east - this Japanese shipping company leased wharf No 6.The tug preparing to pull the ship out into the channel is green painted, the colour of Fenwick's tugs.

    The scene is a bustling one typical of a big ship getting ready to go to sea. It is very accurately observed, even
    though some of the well-known structures in the background, such as the Walsh Bay warehouses, are suggested rather than clearly drawn.
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