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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Arthur Chidley, maritime illustrator

A friend showed me this picture of an artwork, being curious to know some thing about (a) the ship and (b) the artist.  A google hunt revealed that the ship is the Aristides, and that the artist was Arthur Chidley.  And, that another copy, apparently black and white, is held in a museum in Newcastle, New South Wales.

The tiny silhouette on the horizon balances the weight of the subject, making it a satisfying study. Very nice indeed.

But who was the artist?   He seems to belong to the first couple of decades of the twentieth century.  Quite a large number of his works have been up for sale in a number of galleries, and can be printed off on demand.  Chidley illustrated a couple of books, and contributed to a set of military cards that were produced soon after the First World War.  It seems that he illustrated calendars, too.  But there the information stops. 

The ship itself is much easier.  Lars Bruzelius, on his invaluable site, provides the bones of her history.

An iron full-rigged ship built in 1876 by Walter Hood & Co., Aberdeen. Dimensions 260'0"×39'5"×34'5" and 1721 GRT, 1661 NRT and 1498 tons under deck.
1876 March
Launched at the shipyard of Walter Hood & Co., Aberdeen, for Aberdeen White Star Line (G. Thompson & Co.), Aberdeen. Assigned the official British Reg. No. 70454 and signal PVQC. Captain R. Kemball late of the Thermopylae (1868) was given command of the new ship.
1876 July 6 - September 18
Sailed from London to Port Phillip in 74 days,
1876 November 28 - February 17
Sailed from Melbourne to London in 81 days.
Sailed from London to Sydney in 85 days.
Captain Spalding replaced Capt. Kemball.
1903 May 28
Sailed from Caleta Buena with a cargo of nitrate for San Francisco and disappeared on route.
So she was fast, and she was comfortable.  And she carried hundreds of passengers to a new life in the "lucky country." 

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