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HM Packet Brig 'Sheldrake', Lt Passingham Entering Falmouth Harbour

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art, Maritime Art Greenwich
Gallery locationNot on display
VesselsSandwich, Eclipse (1819), Sheldrake (1825), Sphinx

Object details:

Object ID BHC3636
Description The Post Office packet 'Sheldrake', is seen in starboard-broadside view off Falmouth in company with the 'Eclipse' and 'Sandwich'. Falmouth was an important base for packet sailings to the west. The term brig was used even when the vessels were barque-rigged and 'Sheldrake' appears in the 'Navy List' with other vessels under the heading 'Her Majesty's Packet Brigs commissioned by the Admiralty'. The 'Sheldrake' flies the red ensign and although the red-and-white pennant at the fore denotes the packet 'Sphinx', the figurehead appears to confirm the former identity. There are a number of sailors visible on the deck. Lt A. R. L. Passingham commanded the 'Sheldrake' from 1832 until the end of 1841. Since he had previously commanded the 'Sphinx' he probably transferred her flag when he took command of the 'Sheldrake'. The Admiralty took over the Falmouth Postal Packet Service in 1823, largely replacing the Post-Office-owned vessels and others they had on charter from captains and private, often local, syndicates. With few exceptions, crew and commanders were replaced with Navy personnel to run the service. A variety of shipping can be seen inland towards Falmouth, including the smoke from a paddle steamer, and St Mawes Castle sits on the hill on the far right. In the foreground a figure wearing a top hat may be the pilot for the 'Sheldrake'. He is being rowed to the packet by two sailors, whose clothes have been closely observed by the artist.
Date made 1834

Artist/Maker Condy, Nicolas Matthew
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Frame: 795 mm x 925 mm x 64 mm;Painting: 635 mm x 762 mm
  • HM Packet Brig 'Sheldrake', Lt Passingham Entering Falmouth Harbour (BHC3636)
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