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LORD OF THE ISLES, 208 Tons Regst, Built by Henry Beattie, Ship Builder, Sydney, 1882.

Date: 1882-1892
Overall (framed): 1055 x 1350 x 65 mm
Sight: 580 x 860 mm
Medium: Watercolour on paper, framed
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Terry Matthews Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Object Name: Watercolour
Object No: 00049235

User Terms

    LORD OF THE ISLES watercolour by George Frederick Gregory junior (1857-1913), son of marine painter George Frederick Gregory (1821- 1887). Gregory junior and brother Arthur Victor Gregory (1867-1957) both learnt the skills of ship portraiture from their father and became prolific maritime artists in their own right. Gregory junior worked for a while in South Australia before he moved to Sydney and Newcastle.

    The LORD OF THE ISLES sister ship SYDNEY BELLE was painted by Arthur Victor Gregory in 1897. Arthur was the third son of George Frederick Gregory senior, from his second marriage. He took over his father's Gregory Studios in South Melbourne and worked there as a marine painter from the late nineteenth century. He died in Melbourne in 1957. Arthur began taking commissions for ship portraits as a boy. His reputation had been established in Melbourne by the early 1880's and he continued producing ship portraits in great numbers for the next 50 years.
    SignificanceThe LORD OF THE ISLES was one of two ships built by Henry Beattie in Balmain, Sydney in the late 19th century that were regarded as elegant models of ship construction. It had an interesting career, at one point working the blackbirding trade in the Pacific.

    The Gregory family were prolific and highly regarded maritime artists.

    HistoryLORD OF THE ISLES was built by Henry Beattie, one of only two ships listed as built by him. Henry operated at Balmain at least from 1881 - 1889, though appears to have been there since the 1870s. There were several members of the Beattie family involved in ship building in Balmain, Sydney and Brisbane waters just north of Sydney, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Henry Beattie remained as the main owner of his two ships that were designed as cargo and passenger trading vessels.

    The LORD OF THE ISLES was a 218 ton Barque and launched in November 1881. The vessel's 'sister ship', the SYDNEY BELLE, was launched in September 1892. Both took seven or more years in construction.

    A Sydney Morning Herald report on Saturday 12 November 1881described substantial interest in its launch;

    An interesting event took place at Mr. Henry Beattie's shipbuilding yard, Balmain, on Tuesday morning, when that gentleman launched a ship - the outcome of seven years' patient toil. She was christened THE LORD OF THE ISLES, by Miss Agnes Beattie, daughter of the owner, in the presence of a crowd of friends. The vessel will be rigged as a three-masted schooner. ...Captain Hutton, of the CYNISCA, remarked, as the ship glided into the water, that she was a pattern in every respect for any vessel which might henceforth be built in the colony. But then every builder in the colony would hardly be prepared to spend nearly a decade in the production of such a model.'

    The LORD OF THE ISLES was sent 'to the South Seas' for 'the labour trade', or in other words, the so-called 'blackbirding' trade. It operated by finding and then transporting indentured Pacific Island labourers for the Queensland cane and other farm plantations. The trade in Pacific Island indentured labour had a notorious past, with many traders capturing islanders or luring them on board ship and sailing away. It was regarded by many as Australia's version of the slave trade. In January 1884 the Sydney Morning Herald mentioned that 'owing to the difficulty in getting labour, the LORD OF THE ISLES will be taken out of the trade.'

    The vessel then appears to have been chartered for a variety of cargo and passenger services. In 1893 it was, along with its 'sister ship' - also a Beattie owned cargo and passenger vessel - the SYDNEY BELLE, inspected by representatives of the New Australia Scheme - utopian socialists under William Lane who wished to establish a socialist society in Paraguay. They were considered for chartering for the voyage to South America, though they were found not able to carry enough passengers, 300 already having been registered to emigrate to Paraguay in 1893.

    The LORD OF THE ISLES was wrecked and lost in 1900 in high seas off Auckland on the New Zealand coast and Beattie's small, though much admired, passenger-cargo fleet came to an end.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: The Lord of the Isles

    Web title: LORD OF THE ISLES, 208 Tons Regst, Built by Henry Beattie, Ship Builder, Sydney, 1882.

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