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The barque 'Koh-i-noor'

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art
Gallery locationNot on display
VesselsKoh-i-noor 1852

Object details:

Object ID BHC2218
Description This painting shows the barque 'Koh-i-noor' in starboard broadside view off Cape Town, with Table Mountain rather unrealistically represented in the background. The ship is flying a Union flag at the fore, which is usually a signal for a pilot, and may also be shown in port-quarter view on the far right, heading in. British seizure of the Koh-i-noor (Mountain of Light) diamond in India in 1849 prompted a number of vessels being so-named and Lloyd's Register for 1853 lists three barques called 'Koh-i-noor'. The one shown here was launched on the Tyne in 1852 and the 'Newcastle Chronicle' of 13 February that year gives a brief account of the occasion: 'A vessel of five hundred tons burthen was launched on the 5th inst. from the building yard of Messrs. Gaddy and Lamb, at the Tyne Main Patent Slip, South Shore. She is of fine model, is distinguished in her class for her sailing and carrying qualities, and is destined for the China trade; is the property of H. Lawson Esq. South Shields, and was christened by the lady of her owner, "The Kior o' Noir". The bow is ornamented with a carved figure by Mr Scott, representing a Sikh with gun in hand. A large concourse assembled to witness the launch, after which about one hundred of the party sat down to a splendid dejeuner.' The ship's identity is confirmed by the figurehead shown in the painting which is, indeed, a turbanned Indian figure carrying a gun and was carved by Robert Sadler Scott, a well-known ship carver in Newcastle. John Scott of South Shields was a well-known north-eastern ship portraitist and it is likely that this fine example of his work was commissioned by the 'Koh-i-noor's' owner who also lived there: it is signed 'J. Scott 1852', lower right. The setting obviously reflects the ship's intended use in the China trade, in which Cape Town was a normal port of call for sailing vessels. We are grateful to Cliff Thornton for providing details included above (May 2014).
Date made 1852

Artist/Maker Scott, John
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 913 x 1220 mm; Frame: 1222 x 1524 x 120 mm
  • The barque 'Koh-i-noor' (BHC2218)
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