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The 'Luxborough Galley' on fire, 25 June 1727

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings
Gallery locationVoyagers (Floor plans)
PeopleProvenance: Parker, R.
VesselsLuxborough Galley fl.1727

Object details:

Object ID BHC2389
Description This is the first of a set of six scenes showing ‘The loss of the 'Luxborough Galley' in 1727 and the escape of some of her crew’ (BHC 2385-8 and BHC2391). It shows some of the crew of the ‘Luxborough’ escaping and abandoning the ship after it caught fire. In the painting the fire has taken hold and the vessel is well ablaze: even the surface of the water is tinged yellow from the ferocity of the fire. Some of the crew have taken to the yawl in the foreground on the far left, to escape. The yawl was only 16 feet long with no food, water or sails and only three oars. When they escaped from the burning wreck they were about 300 miles from land. The crew left behind on the galley can be seen on deck trying to contain the blaze: 16 died on board. The ‘Luxborough’, captained by William Kellaway, carried slaves for the South Sea Company. She was lost between the Caribbean and England on the third part of the infamous Triangular Trade. She left England in October 1725 for Cabinda in West Africa, on the first leg of the triangular route. Here the captain exchanged his cargo of Indian cottons and trade goods for 600 slaves. During the second leg of the triangle, between Africa and the Caribbean, eight crew and 203 Africans died of smallpox before arriving in Jamaica in October 1726. After selling the surviving slaves, the ‘Luxborough’ galley left Jamaica in May 1727 for England, loaded with rum and sugar. On 25 June 1727 she was accidentally set on fire when a keg of rum in the spirit room burst and the ship caught fire and sank. Kelloway and his crew were then set adrift in the mid-Atlantic. After a fortnight the yawl arrived on the coast of Newfoundland 7 July 1727 and was rescued by fishermen. The loss of the ‘Luxborough’ by fire was notorious because the survivors in the ship's boat had to resort to cannibalism to stay alive. The painting is signed and dated ‘I.C.1760’.
Date made 1760

Artist/Maker Cleveley, John
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 495 mm x 650 mm; Frame: 650 x 804 x 70 mm
  • The 'Luxborough Galley' on fire, 25 June 1727 (BHC2389)
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