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The WILLIAM MITCALFE 447 tons, E Phillipson Esq Commander, underway out of Darling Harbour Sydney NSW 1846

Date: 1846
Overall: 480 x 591 x 8 mm, 3237 g framed
Medium: watercolour on paper, wood frame
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Watercolour
Object No: 00046949
Related Place:Sydney,

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    This watercolour ship's portrait of the barque WILLIAM MITCALFE in 1846 shows the vessel leaving Darling Harbour, Sydney NSW. It was painted by renowned marine artist Frederick Garling whose prodigous output covered most of the ships that came to Sydney during his lifetime as an artist.
    SignificanceThis watercolour of the barque WILLIAM MITCALFE in 1846 is by Australia's premier colonial maritime artist Frederick Garling. It is an excellent visual record of one of the many mixed cargo and passenger vessels servicing Sydney in the 1840s. The WILLIAM MITCALFE also carried convicts to Hobart in 1834.

    The work also reveals topographical details of colonial Sydney in the 1840s, including Darling Harbour and Dawes Point making the painting an important colonial view.

    HistoryFrederick Garling was born in 1806 in London UK. He came to Australia with his parents in 1815 aboard the FRANCIS AND ELIZA. Records suggest he was appointed a landing waiter with the Customs office in 1827 and promoted in 1847. Garling was self-taught as a marine artist and had a prodigous output of mainly unsigned works.

    In 1827 Garling accompanied Captain James Stirling as official artist on his exploratory expedition to the Swan River in Western Australia. He exhibited with the Promotion of the Fine Arts Society in Sydney in 1847and 1848. Garling painted marine and landscape subjects, and his marine paintings covered both genres.
    Garling is thought to have painted most of the vessels that came through Port Jackson during his period as a painter, the middle of the 19th century. Garling painted almost exclusivley in watercolour and along with an attention to the detail of the ship and background, he created the atmosphere of the event depicting the light, shadow and movement of the ship and other elements of the scene.

    Garling is undoubtedly colonial Australia's finest maritime painter and his works can be found in the Art Gallery of NSW, the Dixson Gallery, Mitchell Library and other distinguished Australian public and private collections.

    The WILLIAM MITCALFE (occasionally spelt Metcalfe) was launched in 1834 at Sunderland in Britain for Henry Mitcalfe. Henry Mitcalfe was the member for Tynemouth in 1841. The vessel was 447 Registered Tons, rigged as a ship and later a barque, with Lloyds Class A1 certification. The master from 1834 to 1846 is reported to have been Edward Philipson.

    On 25th of May 1834 the WILLIAM MITCALFE left Portsmouth for Hobart in Tasmania with a shipment of 240 male convicts. It arrived in Hobart on the 4th of September 1834, after a 102 day passage. One of the convicts on board was George Loveless, who had been amongst a group that had formed a trade union, an act that was at this time against the law.

    As a mixed passenger-cargo ship the WILLIAM MITCALFE arrived, departed or was reported to be in Sydney in 1834, 1837, 1838, 1839, 1844, 1845, and 1846. There are no further Shipping News reports of it being in Sydney after 1846.

    The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser of 27th November 1834 reported: 'On Thursday last the first bale of wool of the present season was shipped on board the WILLIAM METCALFE [sic], in Sydney Cove, on which occasion Captain Phillipson [sic] fired a big gun. For the breach of the police act Captain Phillipson was yesterday fined five pounds…'

    WILLIAM MITCALFE is recorded as departing Sydney on the 17 January 1846 with a cargo largely consisting of wool, kauri gum, tallow and sperm oil - the number of passengers is unknown. This is likely to be the date of the scene depicted by Garling as it is not recorded again in Sydney that year. An advertisement on Friday 16th of January notes that the iron steamer ROSE had been engaged to tow the vessel to sea, and the advertisement invited the public to board the steamer for a 'pleasure excursion' as well.

    The vessel is reported to have been active in 1858, still owned by Henry Mitcalfe, Tynemouth and Wm Mitcalfe of Combe Lodge, UK. However Lloyds List from the 2nd of December 1858 reports WILLIAM MITCALFE as having foundered off New Brunswick on the north east coast of North America.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: The WILLIAM MITCALFE 447 tons, E Phillipson Esq Commander, underway out of Darling Harbour Sydney NSW 1846

    Label title: The William Metcalfe

    Primary title: The WILLIAM MITCALFE 447 tons, E Phillipson Esq Commander, underway out of Darling Harbour Sydney NSW 1846

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