Oil paintings, Fine art

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The ship 'Australia'

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art
Gallery locationNot on display
VesselsAustralia 1850

Object details:

Object ID BHC3217
Description Ship portrait. Oil painting depicting the full-rigged ship 'Australia' (identified by her name pennant and her name on the hull) passing the entrance to Ramsgate harbour on her way into the Thames. It is signed in light brown in the lower left corner. The artist was the son of John Spencer and Elizabeth Ball, who married at St James's, Piccadilly, on 15 April 1810. He was born on 11 November 1812 and baptized on 6 December at St Pancras Old Church, London (Middlesex). He married Caroline Gibson on 16 December 1843 at St George's in the East, Stepney, when his profession is given as 'Painter', that of his father John as a grocer and of his wife's father as a 'Letter caster'. In 1871, Richard was a widower aged 58 - his wife having died in or after 1859/60 - and listed in the census taken on 2 April 1871 as a 'Marine Painter' living at 96 Jubilee Street in Mile End Old Town, in the East End of London. His children are listed as Caroline (25, born Whitechapel and presumably keeping house for him): Elizabeth (21, b. Rotherhithe) working as a baby-linen maker; Richard W. (19, b. Whitechapel) and William Ball (16, b. Stepney) both listed as 'In practice' - presumably as artists, since William was one, though the entry is not clear - and Rosina Rebecca (12, b. Stepney) still at school. Another son, also Richard Ball, had died in Stepney in December 1847 aged a year and nine months, his burial (23 Dec.) being noticed in the non-conformist register. Richard, the father, appears to have died at West Ham, Essex, in the April-June quarter of 1897 when his age was slightly understated as 83. The second name of the Spencers (both Richard and William) has sometimes previously been given as 'Barnett' not Ball: this is incorrect but where the error originated is not clear.
Date made Mid 19th century

Artist/Maker Spencer, Richard Ball
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Macpherson Collection
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 612 mm x 911 mm x 22 mm
  • The ship 'Australia' (BHC3217)
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