THOMAS M. M. HEMY (1852-1937) - PAGE 22


Thomas M. M. Hemy datapages 01, 02 & 03 are now on site. Plus all of the other image pages, accessible though the index on page 05. PRIOR PAGE / NEXT PAGE

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There are some brief words on this site now as to the sea battle that Thomas Hemy depicted in the two works presented on this page. i.e. the battle off Boston Harbour between the British frigate H.M.S. Shannon & the American frigate U.S.S. Chesapeake. Go to site page 23.


The fine work which follows appears on a page of 'The History Project', a professional development site of The University of California at Davis for Social Science teachers. What a pleasure to find a site that clearly states that the image is in the public domain. It would seem that the work is owned by the U.S. Naval Historical Center, U.S. Dept of the Navy, Washington Navy Yard, 805 Kidder Breese St. SE, DC 20374-5060. And an image of the work was published in American Heritage, XX, 1, Dec. 1968, p. 60.

I have a number of issues of American Heritage, I know. Just maybe I have that one. If not we will try to find it! It has a cover picture of a sword and its major article is a 36 page account of the Jun, 1, 1813 sea battle between the United States frigate 'Chesapeake' & the British frigate 'Shannon' off Boston. With colour images of the ships, captains, & battle, plus an account of the battle written by Peter Padfield.

I read then, on this page (do drop by to see it full size) that the work depicts Captain Broke of the Shannon leading his men in boarding the Chesapeake in 1813. I have reduced the size of the rather larger image available at that link in order that you may view the whole image here without scrolling.

Boarding the Chesapeake by Thomas M. M. Hemy 1895


At left is a print entitled 'The Shannon and the Chesapeake at close quarters'. You can buy the print here. I trust that site will not object to my use of the thumbnail image. But if there is any objection, I will gladly remove it from this page.

I was hopeful that we might soon have on site an image of that work of larger size & better detail. But that now seems unlikely. The work is owned by a private collector in Florida who then regularly welcomed tours of visiting school children as a means to expose them to quality art. A catalogue was being prepared a number of years ago & the persons then preparing the catalogue offered an image of the work in exchange for the use of data from this site.

I did read, however, in a book that listed auction sales in 1988, that the work was sold in that year for £24,000. And the listing stated that the work was painted in 1895.

In the years since the above words were written, I have preferred not to disclose on this site the name of that private collector in Florida. (It would seem, however, that he resides for a major part of each year at Homeport in Cape Cod.) But that reticence now seems unnecessary since a show of his art collection was held at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue, in Boston commencing on Aug. 31, 2005. It must have been a popular show because it was scheduled to end on Nov. 17, 2005 but was extended through Nov. 27, 2005. The show was entitled 'Things I Love: The Many Collections of William I. Koch'. The show included the Hemy work & in a review of the show Ed Siegel of the Boston Globe wrote as follows: 'The lore of the high seas is the first thing you notice in the show. Hanging in a hallway near its entrance, Thomas Hemy's large canvas depicting men at war, ''The Shannon and the Chesapeake, Close Quarters," shivered me timbers, while other paintings caught both the adventure and the serenity of life on the high seas.' Alas, I missed the show & missed the opportunity to see the Hemy work in close proximity to where I live in Toronto, Canada. Boston is scarcely around the corner from Toronto, of course, but viewing the show would have been possible with a long weekend's drive. Certainly a bit shorter than a drive to West Palm Beach, Florida, where William Koch most probably continues to invite school children to visit his home to learn first hand an appreciation of fine art.

Captain James Lawrence, killed in the 1813 engagement bewteen Shannon and Chesapeake

William I. (Ingraham) Koch? A most interesting individual, indeed. Seems to be better know as Bill. The surname is, by the way, pronounced 'coke' like the drink. Famous for skippering America³ in 1992 when he won the coveted America's Cup. In the business world he is known as the founder, owner & President of 'The Oxbow Group', a very large, very diversified & privately held holding company. A biography is here and you can see him on this Oxbow management page.

Bill Koch owns, as I read in an 'antiquesandfineart'
article, no less than seven artworks of the sea battle between the Shannon & the Chesapeake in 1813 north of Massachusetts Bay. The battle is of especial significance, it would seem, since Bill's ancestor, Captain James Lawrence, (referred to at the above link, however, as Jacob Lawrence, mortally wounded in the engagement & carried below after being hit by the first Shannon broadside, uttered the words that became the U.S. Navy motto: 'Don't give up the ship!' (Lawrence died with his last command still on his lips: 'Tell the men to fire faster & not to give up the ship; fight her till she sinks!')

That is Captain James Lawrence at left.

At that last link you can see many works in Bill's collection, in their settings in his home, but alas the Hemy work seems not to be featured.

I still seek a large quality image of the Hemy work. Some day in the future, perhaps, it may be possible to show it here. For your enjoyment. And mine!

I will try to locate and present on this page an image of America³ - in full sail. I think such an inclusion here would most surely meet with Thomas Hemy's approval, were he here today to grant it! The official America³ site seems to contain, on its photo page, just two images from that event. How extraordinary! I would have expected pages of images all freely usable. The two images that are presented are thumbnails, are copyrighted & would therefore be unavailable for use on this site had they been of good size which they are not. There is a small image of America³ here but it also is copyrighted & cannot be shown here. But you can see it. Where I cannot show it!

America³, built by Goetz Custom Boats of Rhode Island, defeated Stars and Stripes, skippered by Dennis Conner, to become the U.S. standard bearer in the 1992 event. America³ took on the Italian team 'Il Moro di Venezia', whose vessel 'Il Moro' had defeated yachts from Spain, Sweden, Australia, France, Japan, & New Zealand to reach the final. I am not 100% sure those words are correct. Even the official sites seem to me to be unclear as to the exact names of a) the Italian vessel, maybe 'Il Moro di Venezia V ITA-25', and b) the Italian team. Bud Melges was helmsman of the U.S. entrant? America³ won 4 races to 1 in the series held off San Diego, California. Notable, surely, was race 1, when Bill Koch was unfortunately hit in the head during a jibe - when hit by a block attached to the boom rigging. He was, however, able to get to his feet & continue his duties despite, most probably, a considerable headache! The America's Cup dates from as long ago as 1851 when the first race was held. It was then called,
by the British, the 'One Hundred Sovereign Cup' and as the 'One Hundred Guineas Cup,' in error I read, by the American syndicate that won it. It later became the 'America Cup' & now 'America's Cup'.

If you can provide additional information about the subject matter of this page, I sure would like to hear from you. A large quality image of the Hemy work, perhaps. And a similar image of America³ would be most welcome. And please Thomas Hemy if he is watching!

A 1961 volume entitled 'Guns Off Cape Ann' by Kenneth Poolman, is devoted to the 1813 battle between the Shannon & the Chesapeake.

Thomas M. M. Hemy datapages 01, 02 & 03 are now on site. Plus all of the other image pages, accessible though the index on page 05. PRIOR PAGE / NEXT PAGE

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