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A 19th-century royal barge, built for George IV

BHC1117
Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings
Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID BHC1117
Description (Updated November 2018) Oil painting of a six-oared royal barge built by James Sturdeee of Deptford (1787-1883). It was later inherited by his grandson Thankfull Sturdee (1852-1934), a notable Deptford photographer. Its origin and subsequent history are outlined in his obituary in the 'Kentish Mercury' (6 March 1934): 'In 1928 he presented to the [Deptford Borough] Council, to be hung in the Central Library, a picture with a history. Mr James Sturdee, the grandfather referred to [in the obituary] (who was born in 1787), was an inspector at the [Royal] Dockyard at Deptford and he constructed for George IV a Royal barge, made of mahogany. It was furnished with silk curtains which were made in Wellington-street, Deptford. Mr James Sturdee took the barge to Virginia Water, Windsor, and launched it. The King was so pleased with it that he gave the builder ten golden guineas. With this money the Dockyard inspector commissioned a Deptford artist, Mr Cunlip [sic; actually Cudlip] who lived in Evelyn-street, to paint a picture of the barge. This work had been handed down to Mr. Thankfull Sturdee, who in turn gave it to the Borough Council.' It has been in the Museum since July 1963, when noted as an 'indefinite loan' from Deptford Public Library. The barge is shown in two separate views, fitted with its canopy and curtains at the top and without them in the one below, which is also from an angle to show the interior of the hull. The Royal Standard is not entirely clear but has to be that of George III (d. 1820) , as updated in 1816 when Hanover became a kingdom rather than an electoral principality and which remained the pattern until the death of William IV in 1837. George IV (previously Prince Regent from 1811) had a number of pleasure boats, including a Chinese junk, on Virginia Water, the artificial lake on the edge of Windsor Great Park: he enjoyed fishing there in his later years and also had a 'Chinese-style' fishing pavilion added in 1825. Very little is known of the artist, Cudlip. He was son of John and Elizabeth Cudlip and was apparently born in Deptford early in 1803, where he was baptised at St Nicholas's church on 14 March. His best-known work, published as a print, is a view of St Paul's Church, Deptford, but he appears to have exhibited genre pictures and portraits at the Royal Academy in 1828 (1), 1831 (4) and 1832 (2). In 1828 his address was given as 17 Marlborough Place (St John's Wood) and for 1831-32, 7 Brunswick Place (Marylebone). According to the 'Gentleman's Magazine' for May 1833 (p. 476), he died in Blackheath on or about 30 April that year, aged just 30. We are grateful to Sarah Crofts for supplying information to improve this entry in November 2018.
Date made circa 1825

Artist/Maker Cudlip, S. B.
Cudlip, Samuel Bentham
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 457 mm x 584 mm
Parts
  • A 19th-century royal barge, built for George IV (BHC1117)
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