Joseph Heard (British, 1799-1859) The Brig 'Martha' passing the Fastnet Rock, homeward bound for Liverpool 66 x 91.4cm. (26 x 36in.)

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Lot 137
Joseph Heard
(British, 1799-1859)
The Brig 'Martha' passing the Fastnet Rock, homeward bound for Liverpool 66 x 91.4cm. (26 x 36in.)

£ 15,000 - 20,000
US$ 21,000 - 28,000
Joseph Heard (British, 1799-1859)
The Brig 'Martha' passing the Fastnet Rock, homeward bound for Liverpool
signed 'J. Heard' (lower left)
oil on canvas
66 x 91.4cm. (26 x 36in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance :- Captain James Mundle (master of the vessel from 1847-1850) and thence by family descent.

    Known as Europe’s western outpost, the Fastnet Rock off Ireland’s south west tip was a welcome sight at the end of a transatlantic voyage, confirmed by a distant view of Cape Clear as seen under the brig’s bowsprit.

    The lighthouse depicted preceded the modern one and consisted of a 91 ft. iron cylinder on the summit of the 100ft. pinnacle of rock. Begun in 1848, the light was first lit in 1854. Exposed to the full fury of the Atlantic, it eventually became unsafe and was replaced by the present tower built upon a much broader foundation approximately at high water level near the base of the rock. Building began in 1896 and it was over ten years before it was first lit in 1907.

    Martha (244 tons) was built in Maryport, Cumberland, in 1838 and continued in service until reported lost at sea in 1873. This painting has been handed down through the family of Captain James Mundle who was master from 1847 to 1850. Owned by Lee & Co. of Liverpool this relatively small brig regularly rounded Cape Horn, trading to Chile and Peru. According to family tradition, Captain Mundle was accompanied by his wife on the first voyage; their first daughter Elizabeth Martha being born aboard the brig whilst off Cape Horn on 21 July 1847. Elizabeth being a family name, the additional name ‘Martha’ acknowledged the role played by the brig.

    The composition, with its inward running wave crests and slightly elevated viewpoint providing a good view of the deck layout, is typical of the artist. Identified by the (post 1840) Marryat Code hoist 1st distinguishing pendant, 7,9,8,3, signifying ‘Martha’, this also dates the painting following the reorganisation of the code in 1840. Serving to commemorate such an auspicious voyage, a likely date for the painting would be late 1847 or early 1848.

    We would like to thank Dr. Sam Davidson for his help in cataloguing this lot.
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