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The Yacht 'Isabel' Lying off Deptford

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings
Gallery locationNot on display
VesselsIsabel fl.1852

Object details:

Object ID BHC3419
Description (Updated, March 2015) This painting was presented to the Museum in 1951, with another unrelated one, and was long dated to around 1820 and attributed to George Chambers senior (who would have been only 17 in 1820). Since the brigantine-rigged steam yacht shown was only built in 1850, when Chambers senior had been dead for ten years, he cannot be the artist. On closer comparisons it is also not typical of his style but appears instead to be by his son and pupil, George William Crawford Chambers (usually called George Chambers junior, 1829-78), who did a large number of Thames views - though mainly small ones- and can be of more variable quality. This is a very good example, which is probably why it was for so long (to March 2015) taken for his father's work. Another reason for believing it by him is that NMM BHC3420 - though not a pair in size - is also by him and shows the 'Isabel' from the same angle while on Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield's 1852 search for Sir John Franklin's lost Arctic expedition. For this the yacht was privately fitted out by Lady Franklin. The present painting was probably done for Inglefield, since the donor in 1951 was his descendant Lieutenant-Commander Aubrey Inglefield: the provenance of the other is not yet clear. Here the ‘Isabel’ is shown off Deptford Dockyard, either on point of arrival or departure (though not necessarily for the expedition), or airing sails, with a view of Greenwich in the distance. Chambers junior was a London-based marine artist, whose career has presented some problems, since while he was known to have lived into the 1870s his date of death long proved elusive. The existence of one or two paintings of South American landscape subjects signed George Chambers, and a false report that he died late in the century in Trinidad, also gave the impression that he later worked there. Apart from the landscapes mentioned, now assumed to be by another artist who shared the name, there is no evidence he crossed the Atlantic and in 2012 a newspaper death notice in 'The Standard', 17 January 1878, was found showing he died at 112 Livingstone Road, Clapham Junction (Wandsworth), on 12 January with his age given as 47:since he was baptized at St Paul's, Shadwell on 8 July 1829, he was more probably 48. The cause given in official records was 'phthysis' - long-standing tuberculosis - which was also that of his father's even younger death (at 37 in 1840).
Date made circa 1852

Artist/Maker Chambers, George William Crawford
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Frame: 850 mm x 1163 mm x 105 mm;Painting: 610 mm x 915 mm
  • The Yacht 'Isabel' Lying off Deptford (BHC3419)
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