Thomas Luny (British, 1759-1837) The 'King George' off Greenwich 72.4 x 120.4cm. (28 1/2 x 47 3/8in.
Lot 128
Thomas Luny (British, 1759-1837) The East Indiaman “King George” in two positions on the Thames passing Greenwich, the Royal Naval Hospital buildings on the far bank 72.4 x 120.4cm. (28 1/2 x 47 3/8in.)
Sold for £43,200 (US$ 67,599) inc. premium

Lot Details
Thomas Luny (British, 1759-1837)
The East Indiaman “King George” in two positions on the Thames passing Greenwich, the Royal Naval Hospital buildings on the far bank
Signed 'Luny' and dated 1784 (lower left)
oil on canvas
72.4 x 120.4cm. (28 1/2 x 47 3/8in.)

Footnotes

  • The fourth (and last) “King George” to sail under East India Company colours in the eighteenth century was launched in 1784 and named in honour of George III. Probably built on the Thames, although her builder’s name is unknown, she was measured at 776 tons and was 116 feet in length with a 35½ foot beam.

    Sailing in convoy from the Downs on 11th February 1785, under Captain Jonathan Court, her maiden voyage was to Bengal, via Bombay, and she was back in the Downs on 20th June 1786 after a particularly fast round trip. On her second voyage (November 1786 – June 1788) under Captain George Millett she proceeded to China from Bombay whilst on her third trip (April 1789 – May 1790), under Captain John Sherwood, she went straight out to China and back in another fast passage time. Early in 1792 Captain Richard Colnett assumed command and he took her out to the Coromandel Coast and Bengal that May, returning home in September the following year. Her fifth voyage (May 1794 – July 1795) was another direct run to China, after which she was hired as a troop transport to accompany the West Indies expedition which left England on 9th December 1795. Returning to commercial service the next year, she sailed from Portsmouth on her final voyage to India on 6th April 1797 although soon after returning home in July 1798, she was sold as a West Indiaman and placed on a regular run to Jamaica. Her second career proved shortlived however, when she was destroyed after catching fire and blowing up in consequence of running aground on Pedro Point, Jamaica, in 1800.

    Captain Colnett, “King George’s” last commander during her East India Company service (1792-98), was a friend of the famous diarist William Hickey who described him as “uncommonly small in stature, certainly not above four feet and a half, but made up in spirit what he wanted in body, for a braver man never existed.”

    The over-long pennant at the vessel’s main masthead in this painting is suggestive that the work was commissioned to mark “King George’s” maiden departure from London.
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