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Date: 1846
Overall: 472 x 575 x 63 mm, 3136.4 g framed
Medium: watercolour on paper, wood frame
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00046950
Related Place:Fort Macquarie,

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    This watercolour ship's portrait of the ship ALEXANDER in 1847 shows the vessel off Fort Macquarie leaving Sydney NSW. It was painted by renowned marine artist Frederick Garling whose prodigious output covered most of the ships that came to Sydney during his lifetime as an artist. Garling was a self-taught artist who had worked as a customs agent. This image is typical of his style which re-created the atmosphere of the event he was painting.
    SignificanceThe watercolour of the ship ALEXANDER commanded by Captain Edward Philipson in 1847, by Australia's premier colonial maritime artist Frederick Garling, represents the many mixed cargo and passenger vessels servicing Sydney in the 1840s. The work reveals topographical details of colonial Sydney in the 1840s, including Fort Macquarie, Government House and Sydney Cove making the painting an important colonial view. Garling painted many of the ships that came to Sydney NSW during the mid 19th century. Most of his paintings were in watercolour and a large number were unsigned.

    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 prodigious 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 exclusively in watercolours and along with an attention to the detail of the ship and background, he created dramatic and atmospheric scenes to accompany the ship portrait.

    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 ALEXANDER was launched in 1828 for Toulmin and Co, at London. It was 523 registered tons, rigged as a ship and served as a mixed passenger/cargo vessel. It is reported to have arrived, departed or been in Sydney in 1835, 1836, 1840, 1844 and 1847. The master from 1835 to 1844 was W. Ramsay, and it was trading between England, Australia, the Orient and India.

    AlEXANDER arrived in Sydney on 31 March 1847, after a passage from the UK with a mixed cargo of foods and other supplies, and 13 passengers. The master at this time was Captain Philipson. A report in the Maitland Mercury 31st march 1847 noted ' The Alexander has made good passage of 109 days from Downs; which, considering she is a Post Office Packet, is rather to be wondered at. She has been detained on this coast some time, having been ten days from Cape Otway.'

    The vessel departed for Valparaiso Chile on the 3rd of May 1847, under the command of Philipson. This is likely to be the date for the scene depicted by Garling as there are no other records of the vessel being in Sydney from 1847.

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