Arthur Wellington Fowles (British, 1815-1883) The “Eastern Monarch” ablaze in Spithead, 3rd June 1859 20.3 x 30.5cm. (8 x 12in.)

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Lot 97
Arthur Wellington Fowles
(British, 1815-1883)
The “Eastern Monarch” ablaze in Spithead, 3rd June 1859 20.3 x 30.5cm. (8 x 12in.)

Sold for £ 1,560 (US$ 1,954) inc. premium

Marine

13 Sep 2005, 14:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

Arthur Wellington Fowles (British, 1815-1883)
The “Eastern Monarch” ablaze in Spithead, 3rd June 1859
signed 'A.W. Fowles' and dated 1859 (lower right)
oil on canvas
20.3 x 30.5cm. (8 x 12in.)

Footnotes

  • Built at Dundee in 1856, the full-rigged “Eastern Monarch”, 1,844 tons, was owned by Somes Brothers of London and traded regularly between Dundee and India. Early in 1859, as she was loading cargo at Karachi, she was chartered by the Indian government to bring home a large contingent of sick and wounded troops in the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny, some of whom were accompanied by their wives and children. After a cramped but otherwise uneventful voyage, “Eastern Monarch” arrived at Spithead in the early hours of 3rd June [1859] with almost 500 people aboard including 352 invalid soldiers, 30 women and 53 children. At 2.30am., about an hour after the vessel had dropped anchor, a loud explosion was heard closely followed by billowing smoke and flame. With the ship’s ports all open for ventilation, the initial fire spread rapidly; despite the valiant efforts of the officers and crew however, the blaze could not be brought under control and the ship was soon ablaze from stem to stern.

    Thanks to perfect discipline amongst the troops, there was no panic and those aboard were ferried ashore by two sailing barges, “Providence “ and “Petrel”, which came alongside, as did boats from H.M. ships “Falcon” and “Flying Fish”, both anchored nearby. The prompt actions of the rescue craft saved all but eight persons but the ship herself was totally destroyed, it was believed, by the spontaneous combustion of a quantity of saltpetre amongst her cargo.
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