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10th June 2019

On Thursday 6 May, ten paintings were returned following extensive conservation at Critchlow and Kukkonen in Sheffield. Of the returned paintings, five were put back on display in the Maritime Museum, including Dock Master’s Wife which was significantly damaged.

Joseph Outram by G. Chalmers
Title Artist Date About
Joseph Outram George Chalmers c.1775 Joseph Outram was a wine merchant and Mayor of Hull in 1775. In this painting he is seen leaning on the foundation block of Queen’s Dock which he officially laid as mayor. Queen’s Dock was Hull’s first dock and at the time the biggest in the UK. Its construction began a major expansion of Hull both as a city and as a port.
Diana by J. Wheeldon
Title Artist Date About
Diana James Wheldon Unknown Like the painting by Widdas this depicts the Hull whaler Diana trapped in the Arctic ice in 1866. The crew had to survive the winter of 1866/67 on limited rations and supplies, with many of her crew dying of scurvy and other ailments. In this painting the ship’s blue flag with the number ‘700’ can be seen. This flag is also on display in the museum. What the number represents remains something of a mystery as it does not tally with official ship or code numbers at the time.
Old portrait of the Dock Master's Wife
Title Artist Date About
Dock Master's Wife Unknown c.1870 This painting has seen a dramatic change through conservation, with a huge tear in the centre of the canvas being repaired and years of grime having been removed. It is one of the few paintings of women in the Maritime Museum collection yet the subject still remains something of a mystery. She is listed as the ‘Dock Master’s Wife’, yet at the time there were several Dock Masters in Hull, one for each dock so her true identity may always be a cause for conjecture.The respectable and prestigious nature of the Dock Master’s role is reflected his wife’s clothing and through the fact that they were in a position to commission a portrait.
Old portrait of William Hammond by L. F. Abbott
Title Artist Date About
William Hammond Lemuel Francis Abbott Unknown William Hammond (1727-1793) was very well connected 18th century man. He was an elder brother of Hull Trinity House, Chairman of the Hull Dock Company and founder of the Trinity House Navigation School in 1787. He sold two of his ships to the Admiralty, which became the Resolution and Adventure for Captain James Cook’s second voyage around the world, 1772-1775. William Hammond also accompanied Hull MP David Hartley to Paris in 1778 on an unofficial visit to meet with Americans Benjamin Franklin and John Roberts. This ‘unofficial’ meeting led to the contacts that would bring about the end of the American War of Independence that was still raging. Four years later Hartley returned to meet Franklin in Paris, this time without Hammond and officially representing the government in negotiations which led to the Treaty of Paris and the end of the conflict.
Old painting of Diana by R. Widdas
Title Artist Date About
Diana Robert Widdas c.1867 This painting depicts the Hull whaler Diana trapped in the Arctic ice in 1866. The crew had to survive the winter of 1866/67 on limited rations and supplies, with many of her crew dying of scurvy and other ailments, including her captain, John Gravill. Eventually the ship was released by the ice in the spring and a much depleted crew managed to sail to the Shetland Isles. Before conservation it was unknown who painted this work. Following conservation the signature of Hull artist Robert Widdas was discovered, identifying the work as one of a pair alongside a nocturnal version on display at the museum.
Old painting of Molly and Friends by T. Fletcher
Title Artist Date About
Molly and Friends Thomas Fletcher 1767 This painting is the oldest whaling painting of Hull whalers held by the museum. The Friends began a four year whaling career in the Arctic in 1786, In 1790, under the command of Captain Robert Wood, it was crushed by the ice and lost.The Molly had a longer life as a Hull ship and like other Hull vessels had a career that spanned both whaling and merchant shipping. The Molly was eventually captured by French privateers in the Greenland Seas in 1806.
Old painting of paddle steamers Rob Roy, Emperor and Queen of Scotland by W. Griffin
Title Artist Date About
Paddle Steamers Rob Roy, Emperor and Queen of Scotland William Griffin c.1848 The paddle steamers in this painting depict a period when steam was steadily surpassing sail in the world of shipping. They also highlight the constant international connections Hull had as a major East coast port. All the vessels here were owned by Hull firm Gee & Company. Paddle steamer Rob Roy was built in Hull 1836 by the local firm Gibsons. It first entered the Hamburg trade sailing to Germany but later operated to St. Petersburg in Russia. Emperor also ran to St. Petersburg and Hamburg and the Queen of Scotland was also in the Hamburg trade.
Whaler and Pilot Cutter
Title Artist Date About
Whaler and Pilot Cutter Unknown c.1840 This painting is a rare work that depicts a Hull whaler returning home off Spurn Head, rather than in Arctic waters. The Pilot cutter No.4, Fox is also clearly shown intercepting the whaler for business. For many years river pilots operated independently, racing the reach ships, and then gain the payment to board and guide the vessel into port through the treacherous shifting sands of the Humber. River Pilots are still needed and operate today but are operated entirely through Associated British Ports.
PS Kingston by T. Binks
Title Artist Date About
PS Kingston Thomas Binks Unknown The Paddle steamer Kingston was a Hull to London steam ‘packet’. The PS Kingston was the second ship to run as a North Sea passenger service under steam from Hull. With the invention of steamships, packet services carrying passengers and mail could operate to a set timetable instead of relying upon the wind as sail had had to do.
Swan and Isabella by J. Ward
Title Artist Date About
The Swan and Isabella John Ward c.1830 This picture depicts two Hull whaling ships, the Swan and the Isabella. The Isabella was famous for rescuing Arctic explorer John Ross from Lancaster Sound in 1833 after he had been stranded in the Arctic for an amazing four winters. Ironically Ross had sailed on the very same Isabella on an earlier unsuccessful expedition to try and find the fabled North West Passage through the Arctic ice, creating trade routes across to the other side of the world. With the shrinking ice cap in the Arctic today, the North West Passage has recently become a reality during the summer and will attract increased shipping in future years.