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'Perilous position of H.M.S. Terror, Captain Back, in the Arctic Regions in the summer of 1837' (Painting)

Oil paintings

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Object ID BHC3655
Description There is a more detailed description of this painting contained within the 'Notebook' field within the 'Mail' icon, and a biographical entry on the artist (1799-1877) who should not be confused with Admiral William Henry Smyth (1788-1865), hydrographer and author of the 'Sailor's Word Book'. The title above is the original one, from the artist's original label formerly on the back of the frame. As opposed to his many - but now scattered watercolours - oil works by Smyth are rare: the only other one in a British public collection apears to be of the waterfront of old Portsmouth in the city collection there. A list of bequests forming part of the first codicil (dated 1879) to the will of his widow, Sophia, identifies three others; '2 large Oil Paintings painted by Admiral Smyth of the "Royal Sovereign" and "Episode in the Battles of Trafalgar"', both left to his cousin the Revd Hugh Johnston, of North Cray, near Woolwich, and 'Columbus discovering America' which she left to her own cousin and joint executor the politician William Cornwallis West (later second husband of Lady Randoph Churchill) of Ruthin Castle, Denbigh. The present picture was left to her last-appointed co-executor - her nephew by marriage George Twiss, of Coutts's bank - by a second codicil of 1886 in which she also appointed him to that role. The Twiss family was also left all the watercolours, mainly in portfolios, in her possession - presumably mostly by Smyth. The actual Smyth connection as 'nephew' of Johstone - whose grandmother was a daugther of the Liverpool banker Thomas Smyth of Macclesfield (d. 1824) - is elusive and he may have been a more distant relative than Sophia Smyth believed. [PvdM updated 3/15]
Date made Mid 19th century

Artist/Maker Smyth, William Henry
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Caird Fund.
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Frame: 1015 x 1405 x 80 mm;Overall: 29.4 kg;Painting: 838 mm x 1219 mm
  • 'Perilous position of H.M.S. Terror, Captain Back, in the Arctic Regions in the summer of 1837' (Painting) (BHC3655)
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