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DALGONAR

Date: c 1890
Dimensions:
Sight: 404 x 556 mm
Overall: 589 x 739 x 42 mm, 4.4 kg
Display Dimensions: 740 x 590 mm
Medium: Watercolour on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00015526
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    Description
    This ship portrait of the 2665 ton steel full-rigger DALGONAR was painted in Sydney around the 1890s. The watercolour depicts the portside of the three masted ship sailing in the open sea. The sails are unfurled and the crew can be seen on deck. Launched in December 1891, the ship carried cargo such as coal, oil, linseed, salt and gunpowder.

    The painting is signed 'A Dufty', though it is unlikely that Alfred Dufty actually painted the image. Dufty owned a shop in Darling Harbour where he sold ship portraits by artists such as John Allcot, Reginald Borstel and William Edgar. These works were often painted from photographs taken by Dufty, and were signed or counter-signed by the photographer.
    SignificanceThe watercolour is representative of the ship portraits painted in the early 20th century. Such images were often taken from photographs that provided the high level of detail demanded by the marine art market.
    HistoryArtists who painted ship portraits were active in ports around the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In mid 19th century Australia the expansion of shipping as a result of the gold rushes, immigration and increased trade all helped to develop a specialised market for pictures of ships. This market consisted of ship captains and crew, shipping companies and ship builders who demanded total accuracy in the ship's rigging and configuration. Many artists had a marine background and had spent some time at sea, which resulted in what was at times an astonishing facility for capturing in minute detail all kinds of ships under sail.

    As the century progressed and the population grew, the art market diversified. Ship painters branched off to become a separate enterprise. They are known as ship portraitists; commercial artists who worked mostly in watercolour depicting the broadside views of ships at sea. The ship is always meticulously detailed, the seas of lesser concern.

    There were a number of ship painters working in the ports around the Australian coast and over to New Zealand, often producing paintings during the short time that the ship was in port. Works by Australian artists were carried on those ships around the major trading routes to and from Australia and England, America and the grain trade to Scandinavia.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: DALGONAR

    Primary title: UNTITLED (PORTRAIT OF THE STEEL RIGGER "DALGONAR")

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