PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
THOMAS WHITCOMBE | A SHIP FROM THE EAST INDIA COMPANY, SAID TO BE 'CASTLE EDEN', 818 TONS, ON HER FIRST VOYAGE
Estimate: 10,000 - 15,000 USD
PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
London circa 1752 - circa 1824
A SHIP FROM THE EAST INDIA COMPANY, SAID TO BE 'CASTLE EDEN', 818 TONS, ON HER FIRST VOYAGE
signed and dated center right on the boat: T. Whitcombe 1812
oil on canvas
canvas: 32¾ by 53⅞ in.; 83.2 by 136.8 cm.
framed: 38½ by 59¾ in.; 97.8 by 151.8 cm.
Canvas is lined. The image and its details read well. Craquelure is mostly visible in the sky and sails, though it is stable. Inspection under UV shows a few spots of scattered retouching to the sky that have been well applied, while a other spots of retouches scattered in the sails fluoresce and have slightly discolored. Painting can hang as is. Offered framed.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Anonymous sale ("Property of a Gentleman"), London, Christie's, 6 April 1973, lot 31, for 6,500 Guineas;
Acquired by the current owner in London, circa 1980.
Marine art gained great importance in London especially in the 18th and 19th centuries as it provided records of the merchant shipping and naval achievements of the time. This painting, said to commemorate the maiden voyage of the Castle Eden to India, is one of many maritime works that portrays ships from the East India Company (EIC). After India granted the Company exclusive trading rights in 1711 for the import of lucrative supplies like silk and cotton  commissions increased for paintings depicting these ships. Here, Thomas Whitcombe not only celebrates the valiant journeys to the east, but also showcases his talent as an artist who accurately rendered the ships and their response to the conditions of the sea. The spectator gets a sense of the harsh weather that awaits the boats with the ominous gray clouds that loom in the upper right corner and the strong winds that exaggeratedly propel the ships forward against the choppy waves cut in half by the bows. Although little is known of Whitcombe’s life, the precise details with which he painted ships suggest that he had experience at sea. Since Whitcombe exhibited 56 paintings between 1783 and 1824 at the Royal Academy, it is likely that he spent most of his career in London where his works were sought after and fetched high prices . His importance as a maritime artist remains, and some of his works are in museum collections like the Tate Britain, London and The National Maritime Museum, London.
 D. Cordingly, Marine Painting in England 1700-1900, New York 1973, p. 72.
 Ibid., p. 93.