Thomas Dutton after F. L. B. Bedwell
H.M.S. Calcutta 84 Guns
In a gale on the 22nd April 1858, in the Gulf of Pechill China.
23.5 x 18.5 inches
Tinted lithograph by Dutton after Bedwell's drawing and published in London by Day and Son in 1858.
This evocative print shows The Calcutta braving a storm off the Chinese coast. The date (1858) coincides with the ship's visit to Nagasaki which was the first visit of a Royal Navy ship to Japan.
Originally commissioned and built in Bombay in 1831, The Calcutta boasted 84 guns and saw military action in both the Crimean War and the Second Opium War. What is fascinating to understand is quite how large the crew of such ships would have been. The full crew amounted to 720 men (138 officers, 69 petty officers, 403 seamen, 60 boys and 150 marines). That's a lot of seamen being tossed about on the high seas!
Frederick Bedwell was one of the many artists and illustrators in the Royal Navy who accompanied ships on their voyages. Thomas Dutton is the most well known and prolific maritime artists and engravers of his generation. The combination of their talents produces this wonderful image that reminds us not only of the beauty of the sailing vessels at the time but also of the perils faced by ships caught in a storm in foreign waters.