THOMAS M. M. HEMY (1852-1937) - PAGE 21
THE WRECK OF THE 'BIRKENHEAD' (1892?)
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On my earlier two pages about the 'Birkenhead' - pages 19 & 20, I specifically covered primarily data that related to Thomas M. Hemy. On this page I will show you whatever 'Birkenhead' artworks I find in my travels by other artists.
1) An image that comes from the fine Wikipedia page about the Birkenhead (thanks!). Which page describes the image as follows:-
The Birkenhead troopship. The only known picture of the ship as she actually existed. Owned by the late Mr. Barber, Chief Engineer, R.N., a survivor, and the work of a brother officer.
2) and 3) These two are non-Hemy images of the Birkenhead.
While the image above left is not identified as to its artist or subject, I presume that it is another painting of the sinking of the Birkenhead.
At right, above, is a thumbnail of a work by Charles Dixon, R.I., (1872-1934), available as a print both here & here. A larger version of the print is immediately below. It is a colour lithograph, published by George Newnes Limited of London, England, in 'Brittania's Bulwarks' subtitled 'The Achievements of our Seamen. The Honours of our Ships'. The print is available from time to time on e-Bay. The first edition of 'Brittania's Bulwarks' was published in 1901. And here are some of Charles Dixon's mass market postcards.
On Apl. 15, 2014, a copy of the Dixon print was offered for sale at the Knightbridge, London, auction facilities of Bonhams. As per this 'pdf' of the auction catalogue at page 42 of 128. Click on the image below to see it in a larger size.
4) The artist re this third Birkenhead work is not known to me. And the work seems quite inaccurate, in fact, to my eyes. The vessel sank at night on a calm sea with a swell & not the breaking waves that are depicted. It did not happen so close to the coast but rather 2 or 3 miles from it. And there were no other ships in the area at the time. So there would not be a ship on the horizon. The image appeared in a children's book about shipwrecks & it crossed over the binding, hence the dark band in centre. The work was attributed to the National Maritime Museum in London, England, but no mention was made of the artist's name. That image was clearly truncated. A second image of the work appears below, but I hesitate to mention the source because the book's Birkenhead chapter, one of twenty, was so amazingly full of inaccuracies. The webmaster does not claim to be a historian or a proof reader but does try to make these pages as close to 100% accurate as he can. And would welcome your help in that objective. I wish that the author & publisher of that relatively recent 'nameless' source (1990) had a similar desire for accuracy.
A little additional information. An e-Bay item in Jul. 2008 offered a litho print of the work, 34.5 x 23cms in size. The inscription under the picture states 'Wreck of Her Majesty’s Steam Ship Frigate Birkenhead on 26th February off Point Danger near the Cape of Good Hope with 630 Passengers & crew – 438 of whom were lost'. At the very bottom of the print it states, 'Published April 15th by Read & Co, Lithographers, 10 Johnson’s Court, Fleet St. London 1852'. But still no name for the artist. It sold for GBP 56.00 or approx. U.S. $111.58.
I am sure that in due course a better image of this visually interesting work will be located.
5, 6, & 7) The artist re these next three Birkenhead works is noted marine artist Peter Bilas, born in Vienna, Austria, in 1952, but now living in South Africa. He painted the vessel at left in the image pair in 1988 (an oil on canvas 60 x 90 cm. in size) & painted her again in full sail in a work at right that is available as a limited edition print. Both images were 'clickable', so you could access where I found them. But both source sites have since gone AWOL - so re the right image I provide the image that I myself found some years ago.
The magnificent painting below is also, I am advised, by Peter Bilas. It depicts 'The Birkenhead steaming into False Bay near Simonstown on the day before she was wrecked.' And was painted in or about 1980. A larger version of the image is available by clicking the image. We thank Gavin Clackworthy for providing this fine image of the work.
8) The following print (I show it enlarged) was sold via e-Bay in Mar. 2012. Stated to be a print/plate from 'Quiver' from 1899/1900 with an overall size including margins of 10 x 6.5 in. (25 x 16 cm.), a page from a book, printed on normal weight paper. The print (e-Bay listing here), sold on Mar. 25, 2012 for GBP 7.80 or U.S. $12.45. It would seem that there was a related text published in 'Quiver' - possibly on page 340 of the issue but I may well have read that page # incorrectly.
The artist's name was not indicated in the listing. Can anybody advise the artist's name? And the exact issue of 'Quiver'.
More about the subject when I have more to tell you!
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