Anchored Hong Kong Harbour
Oil on canvas
Unframed 23″x 17 1/2”
Framed 28 1/2″ x 22 3/4″
Presented is one of the finest China Trade paintings we have ever had the pleasure
to offer. The draftsmanship of the unknown artist is exceptional and shows an intimate knowledge of his subject
matter. Careful research has identified the ship as the HMS Victoria which was the first warship built by Britain for her
Australian colony to be deployed overseas. The HMS Victoria, also referred to as HMVS (Her
Majesty’s Victorian Ship) or HMCSS (Her Majesty’s Colonial Steam Sloop). She was a 580-ton combined steam/sail sloop-of-war
built in England in 1855 for the colony of Victoria. She was the second warship to be ordered for an Australian
colonial navy, the first British-built ship to be given to a colony of the British Empire, and the first Australian warship
to be deployed overseas.
Construction and acquisition. Victoria was the
second ship ordered for an Australian colonial navy, after the Australian-built gunboat Spitfire
for the New South Wales colony. She was designed by the British naval architect Oliver Lang and launched in London on 30 June
1855 by Lady Constance Talbot. Commander William Henry Norman sailed the Victoria from Plymouth
to Hobson’s Bay, arriving on 31 May 1856. The ship was equipped with eight 32-pounder guns.
Shown at the left is a photograph of the Victoria at her commissioning in London on June 30, 1855. Her main duties were
to protect the colony of Victoria, conduct hydrological surveys, recover passengers and crew from stricken ships, and serve
as a lighthouse tender. During her career the sloop delivered the first trout eggs to the colony of Tasmania. In 1860, the colonial government of
Victoria decided to send the sloop to New Zealand, to support British colonists fighting in the First Taranaki War where she
performed duties as a troop ship and transport.
Detail of midships and smoke
Bow with Jack flying at the staff
the scene painted Victoria is anchored in Hong Kong Harbour which also is named after Queen Victoria. Her majestic hull
sits in quiet dignity on the brilliant, misty, blue water of the bay. There no other sailing vessels anchored around
her, but in the background off her port bow are the buildings that are also seen in the painting of Victoria Harbour
which is shown below that of the ship.
CONDITION: The painting is is in excellent condition with some scuffing along the
bottom where the stretcher meets the frame. There is extensive craquelure that does not show in the photographs. The frame
is English and is also in good condition.
The painting was discovered in France and brought to the United States in 2010 where it was cleaned. It had been previously