THOMAS M. M. HEMY (1852-1937) - PAGE 10
EVERY SOUL WAS SAVED (1889) - PAGE 1
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On the very first page of this site, I presented a large thumbnail image of an engraving of the work entitled 'And Every Soul Was Saved'. That image was derived from a print that was for sale by 'martin2001' of Virginia in Jan. 2002. I now own a copy of that print. But I gladly invite you, by way of thanks to Jim Martin, whose print was to inspire the Webmaster to create this entire site, to visit Jim's extensive website of antique prints. It used to be available through his e-Bay store & a further copy may well become available there in the future. You would enjoy dropping by, I know. You may very well end up bidding on a fine decorative engraving for your den wall! As I did with this very print!
If anyone can help me in my search for data about the artist, or provide data as to where the original 'And Every Soul Was Saved' painting is today located, I would welcome your writing to me. It would seem that we now, thanks to Sally Lloyd, know where it was in 1916! The following words appeared in a Baltimore newspaper on Sep. 7, 1916, the day after Captain Murrell died.
'This painting was brought to Baltimore by the late David Bendann, and it is said that 40,000 people viewed it when it was first put on exhibition. It was purchased by Bernard N. Baker, bought back by the Bendanns and sold again to Dr. R. J. Slater for the Ocean Club of Long Branch. Later it was repurchased for the second time by Mr. Bendann and finally sold to the late James L. Kernan, who hung it in the art gallery of the Kernan Hotel, where it may still be seen. The rope that appears on the frame is a piece of the original tow line that was flung from the Danmark to the Missouri. The price of the painting is said to have gone up with each sale, the sum paid by Mr. Kernan having been $10,000.'
The webmaster has now been advised as to the whereabouts, in 2012, of the original painting. While it is inappropriate to specifically identify today's owner, I can tell you that the work is held in a private collection in the U.K., where it has been for at least the last 50 years. I am advised, further, ancient news, that the picture became owned, along the way, by Sir William Gray, whose shipbuilding firm built Missouri, was once displayed in the Council Chambers in West Hartlepool, & that it later became owned by a daughter of Sir William Gray.
And here it is!
Now normally, on this site, I present images in a size that does not require scrolling. But this work surely demands an exception to that rule. A larger version of the image can be seen here.
To return to the print ... I was puzzled that a copy of the print did not get a single bid on e-Bay (roadrunnerbooks) at U.S. $9.95 in May 2003, though it did later sell, in Jun. 2003 for U.S. $7.45. My copy of the print is a beauty. There have surely been many sales of such prints since 2003. A copy sold in late Jun. 2006 for U.S. $19.99. And probably there were other sales in the interval that I have not recorded. A copy of the print did not sell in Jun. 2008 for GBP 4.95.
Just reporting the facts! I am only the scribe. It is not my role to editorialise.
I should state that this work, and probably others too, is known by more than one name. This work, I have chosen to call 'Every Soul Was Saved' because that it what the artist called it in his book - except where I am quoting the exact words of an original source. But it would appear to be more often called 'And Every Soul Was Saved' .
I present, next, the full image as I saw it on Jim Martin's e-Bay site. It is a giant image! A very large scan of the print, as published in The Graphic in 1891 can be found via this paragraph below.
THIS PICTURE IN WORDS
1) BOYS OWN PAPER - January 27, 1894
And Every Soul was Saved - is another of Mr. Hemy's more popular works. Here is the story of that shipwreck: "In April, 1889, the whole civilised world was startled at the news flashed along the telegraph-wires of the loss of a large emigrant ship; and shortly after the heart of every Briton was stirred within him with the account of the gallant rescue, in the midst of the stormy Atlantic Ocean, of the crew and passengers, by an English ship, manned by an English crew, and commanded by an Englishman. The story of heroism was read and talked over in every household, and was the one topic of conversation in the streets, in the railway carriage, and in our homes; but it may be as well to recall briefly the chief incidents. The emigrant ship Danmark sailed from Copenhagen in March, 1889, and when but fifteen days out they found themselves in imminent danger, for the shaft had broken, and in breaking knocked a terrible hole in the ship's bottom, of such a size that the ship was slowly sinking. It was blowing hard, and a heavy sea running at the time, so it was extremely doubtful, even if the boats had been lowered, whether they could live in such a sea; and in any case they could not have carried all the persons on board. It was decided, therefore, to wait for the chance of succour. The poor creatures on board spent four-and-twenty hours of most agonising suspense. They prayed, sang hymns, they whispered together in groups, they scanned the horizon most fervently for the sight of a sail which might rescue them from the death that was almost inevitable. Their prayers were mercifully answered; on the afternoon of April 5 the Missouri, of the Atlantic and Transport Line, commanded by Captain Hamilton Murrell, bound from London to Philadelphia, came in sight. 'I have 735 passengers on board, and that is too many lives to be lost from one vessel,' was the startling signal seen by the Missouri, which at once took hold of the Danmark and towed her through the long night; but the next morning it was seen that the vessel was hopelessly sinking, and that the passengers must be transferred. The lifeboats were launched, and in mid-ocean the transportation of the passengers began. They behaved nobly under the circumstances, the women especially preserving a wonderful coolness under the trying ordeal. The heavy swell running all day made the work dangerous and difficult to prevent swamping. Five hours were consumed in the work, without a single accident. The women and children were taken off first, and then the men. And Every Soul was Saved. As the Missouri was not a passenger ship, the captain was hard pushed to accommodate his big load, but as fast as a boat laden with its human freight came alongside, a corresponding load of the cargo was unhesitatingly thrown overboard to make room for the passengers."
"Out of the 735 persons," said Captain Murrell, "sixty-five were children under eleven years of age, and no less than twenty-two of these were little babies under eleven months. One of the most interesting of the events was that the first two boats to come alongside were our two own lifeboats, containing these twenty-two babies and some of the mothers. We pulled the helpless babies up in baskets, and a very unusual cargo they made for the sailors to handle." This is the precise incident that Mr. Hemy has depicted in his picture. The lofty side of the Missouri is seen towering up on the spectator's right, and in the foreground are the two lifeboats crowded with women and the twenty-two babies; one of the latter, having been carefully stowed in a coal basket, is just starting on the journey up the huge side of the lofty ship, followed by the eyes of the anxious women. Farther away are two more boats deeply laden with passengers, and in the distance is the doomed Danmark, already settling by the stern to its watery grave.
2) THE ARTISTS OWN WORDS - FROM 'DEEP SEA DAYS'
"EVERY SOUL WAS SAVED" The record of a Great Mid-Atlantic Rescue
A brief account of the heroic achievement commemorated in my picture will, I think, be of interest to the present generation. It was probably one of the most marvellous exhibitions of the best qualities of our sailormen that has ever occurred.
In 1890, long before the days of wireless, an emigrant ship, the s.s. Danmark, carrying some six hundred steerage passengers, Danes and Swedes, was crossing the Atlantic in bad weather when her shaft broke, causing a heavy leakage and loss of steering way, leaving the vessel entirely at the mercy of the ocean.
Fortunately for the poor folk on the disabled ship, the s.s. Missouri, belonging to the Atlantic Transport Co., and commanded by one Captain Murrel, hove in sight, and the hopeless plight of the emigrant ship was at once realised. Very soon a tow rope had been passed, and the labouring vessel taken in tow. In the heavy seas that obtained, the Missouri could make very little progress, but for three long days and nights she struggled with her task. Finally, however, it was found that the leaks in the Danmark were fast getting the better of her pumps, and it was recognised that there was nothing for it but to remove the emigrants and crew from the ship.
Whether it was that they did not realise the peril they were in aboard the Danmark, or were naturally gifted with great courage and fortitude, it is on record that the women went through three awful days with far less display of terror that did the men, who howled whenever a greater strain than usual came on the tow-rope, thereby causing a shock throughout the ship. No one slept during this time, save the babies, of whom there were many.
All the Missouri boats were launched, and presently were making their way towards the doomed ship. It was risky work, indeed, to get the emigrants into the boats, and more so on board the Missouri, for although it was not blowing hard there was a heavy sea running.
Everything was carried out with the greatest judgment and foresight; the first boats contained mostly mothers with their babies - and there were some thirty of the latter, all under seven months of age - and as the Missouri was rolling heavily it was impossible to use the accommodation ladder. Captain Murrel, therefore, had to devise means to get them aboard. He solved the problem by attaching a coal bucket to a rope and nearly filling it with pillows and blankets, and inserting a broom handle through the top to prevent the babies from falling out on their journey up the side of the ship. This was lowered to the boats and, after being packed with babies, was hauled up with lightning rapidity whenever the ship rolled to leeward.
When the precious freight reached the deck the babies were hurried aft to the cabin and dumped on the floor. There was no time to lose, for beside the crew of the Danmark there were still five hundred and seventy passengers to transfer to the Missouri, and it was a busy time. As fast as the boats came alongside bow-lines were lowered and quickly passed round the passengers' waists, and up they went when the ship rolled their way. Not a life was lost, and there was only one casualty - and that of a half-blind old woman. It took five or six hours of strenuous labour to get everyone on board - and during this period part of the crew, assisted later on by male emigrants, were occupied in throwing overboard the cargo of the rescuing vessel, to make room for the rescued people. It was a big risk that the captain took, for he was, of course, responsible to the shippers, but without a moment's hesitation he took this step - for the Missouri was a cargo and cattle ship - with no proper accommodation for passengers.
Captain Murrel told me that he could never understand how the matter of the ownership of the babies in arms was decided, because when they were dumped, as they arrived, on the cabin floor they rolled about helplessly with the movements of the ship, and were hopelessly mixed up. Yet, when the mothers were hauled on board, although they could not speak a word of English, they made him understand without difficulty that their babies must be forthcoming. When they were conducted to the struggling mass they quickly got to work and sorted their own babies out, without a single dispute as to ownership. The captain was, doubtless, in fear and trembling lest he would have to play the role of Solomon, but no necessity arose.
When all were on board the ingenuity of the officers and crew of the Missouri were taxed to the upmost to settle their visitors. The mate, Mr. Gates, informed me that he slept on his sea chest, with three women occupying the rest of his berth.
With six hundred emigrants for whom they were quite unprepared the captain turned the ship's head round and made for the Cape-de-Verde Islands, where he landed all the unmarried passengers, and took on board provisions for the remainder, and, as an illustration of his foresight, he secured a vast amount of linen, for the poor people had nothing in the way of clothing but what they stood in.
Therefore did Captain Murrel, a bachelor some six feet two in height and weighing possibly some sixteen or eighteen stone, and Mr. Gates, the mate - who was a married man - set to work cutting out for the women on board to sew. When I jokingly suggested to the captain that the scene would make a good poster for some sewing cotton manufacturer he blushed like a school girl.
Certain events occurred later in connection with the rescue that are interesting, one of which was that the shippers - or owners - of the cargo that was cast into the Atlantic, all in the United States, without an exception refused to advance any claim for compensation, and for a time the captain of the Missouri was the most popular man in the States. I am afraid there was some hanky-panky in connection with the sale of the cable with which the towing was done, for it was sold by some of the sailors and cut up to be resold for relics. From what I heard of the business done in this direction the cable must have been about two miles long - and as for the basket in which the babies came on board, the original basket was sold at a good price - several times, and then one was left over for Madame Tussaud's!
I ought to mention that a coal-basket is quite a large affair, which contains, I think, a couple of hundredweight of coal or more. For the purposes of my picture a friend of mine, one of the heads of a line running to Port Said, at my request had one of these sent up to my studio in St. John's Wood. I do not remember what became of it eventually, probably some enterprising person exported it to the U.S.A. as the real "original" basket, because it was reported in the papers that not only was it in several places in the U.S.A. but also in Madame Tussaud's. Curiosity took me to Marylebone Road to see this latter, and I saw underneath a photo-gravure of my picture of the event (which depicted one of the babies in a veritable orthodox coal-basket) a small Danish basket, which would contain, I daresay at least three or four pounds of butter. I presume it perished with the other more genuine relics in the fire that took place a year or so ago.
Many years after the event, happening to be in the north of England, I met Captain Forsyth, the second officer of the Missouri, who was in command of the first boat alongside the Missouri laden with mothers and babies. He told me that some years previously, when in Baltimore, he read that my picture "Every Soul Was Saved" was on exhibition at an Art Gallery there, and he went with a friend to make the acquaintance of the finished article for which he had posed in its beginning. In front of the picture were a couple of gentlemen who were arguing as to whether it was possible to have taken the emigrants on board in such a sea - and also whether I had indicated on the plates of the ship that the sea was running aft.
Turning around, one of the critics caught sight of Forsyth and his friend, and said, "Excuse me gentlemen, but I see that you are connected with the sea; perhaps you would be kind enough to settle this little argument for us" - and he then related the criticisms that his companion had passed on the picture. He got a surprise when Forsyth replied that not only had the painter indicated that the ship was lying head to wind, by the sea sliding along the plates aft, but so far as the height of the waves was concerned, he might have made them heavier. "Good gracious," replied the astonished man, "how - but -" glancing at the principal figure in the foremost boat and at the speaker he exclaimed, "Oh, pardon me, I see that you were there." "Yes," continued Forsyth, "and I was the last man to leave the boat when we had got them all aboard, and so much was she rolling with the loss of cargo and the addition of heavy top-weight, that when she rolled to leeward I stepped on to the boat deck from the boat!
When the picture was on exhibition in England it was extensively advertised as, "Every Soul was Saved, by Thomas M. Hemy," and I had to reply to several letters of congratulation on my change of heart, to the effect that the writers thereof had put the wrong construction on what they had read.
3) MARTIN2001'S WORDS ABOUT THE PRINT
"There are very few Americans who are not familiar with the story of the wreck of the steamer Danmark, and of the saving of her entire human cargo by Captain Murrel of the steamship Missouri. It was in the month of April, 1889, and there was a very heavy sea, so much so indeed that it was a very perilous thing to lower the boats, but humanity demanded that an effort be made, and it redounds greatly to the honor and credit of Captain Murrel and his men that of the 735 souls on board the ill-fated steamship not one was lost. Our artist has chosen for his painting the scene of transferring the passengers. How difficult that was to do safely may easily be seen. At the side of the vessel stands the brave captain, and through his orders and care every soul was saved."
Webmaster's note to all of the above. The newspaper articles referred to below (New York Times) and some of the texts above refer to the Captain of the Missouri being Captain Murrell, which spelling I believe is correct. It is strange that Thomas Hemy, who met with the good captain as you can read above, calls him in his book, "Deep Sea Days", Captain Murrel. And Thomas Hemy had the year incorrectly (1890 but should be 1889)! A couple of little mysteries, I guess.
I did learn that this Hemy work was a full page of an issue of 'The Graphic', published in the United Kingdom. The particular issue was that dated Oct. 24, 1891. And amazingly I have it! I found that very page in a shop in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, & bought it. 'And Every Soul was Saved' is its title. I have now scanned it, but thought long and hard before I uplinked it because the image is so very large and may consume vast amounts of my limited bandwidth. The print is of almost 12" by 9". The page I have does not have any related descriptive text on its back, so I will need to see a complete copy of that specific issue of "The Graphic" to see whether there was an explanatory article. The very same print was for sale in Apr. 2004 on e-Bay, but did not receive a bid. But a copy of that page from 'The Graphic' did sell in mid Oct. 2005 for U.S. $14.00.
And in Apr. 2004, I learn that the print entitled 'And Every Soul was Saved' was included in a c 1880-1900 volume entitled 'The Triumphs of Modern Art Containing the Most Notable Paintings of To-Day Selected from the Modern Masterpieces of the Whole World of Art, Vol. 1.', published by Gebbie & Co., Philadelphia, with descriptive text by Henri Sylvestre. The book is large I understand - 16.5" x 12", and contains 100 large plates (photogravures and etchings) and 200 typogravures. Each of the prints, which were on heavy stock, had its own tissue guard. The plates each had some descriptive text also, I gather.
Despite appearances, I do try to maintain these web pages at a manageable size. And try to limit a page to a maximum of 7 screens depth. New data is added as received, and since that seems to be quite often in fact, the page size seems to expand. And today it ended up just too big! So I have moved data to other pages and invite you to continue reading about this work, indeed the whole subject of the Danmark/Missouri on second and third pages, available here: 11 & 12.
More about the above work when I have more to tell you!
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