2 SPINKS, Walter. [Album of watercolours drawn aboard HMS Myrmid


Description: The bombardment of Alexandria, a night-attack of jihadic troops in Sudan and a survey in the Far East and Australia

SPINKS, Walter.
[Album of watercolours drawn aboard HMS Myrmidon].
On board HMS Myrmidon, [1884-]1886[-1887]. Oblong 4to (17.5 x 25 cm). With 25 watercolours (including 1 double-page) and 13 pencil drawings, most of them captioned in pencil. Contemporary half-sheepskin album.
€ 12,500
Album of watercolours drawn by a crewmember of the survey ship HMS Myrmidon and showing actions during the Anglo-Egyptian War and the Mahdist War and a surveying journey around the Dutch East Indies and Australia. Most of the watercolours are waterside views of the various ports visited: starting at Sheerness, then Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria and Port Said, with the watercolour of Suez showing a crudely drawn skirmish on the quayside. In Sudan, Myrmidon took part in the Mahdist War between Anglo-Egyptian forces and the Islamic Mahdist-Sudanese. A pencil drawing shows the landing of a machine gun in Suakin and two watercolours depict a night attack on the port city. From there the ship travelled to Massawa and fought with a slaver before reaching Aden. Subsequent views show Colombo, Singapore and various locations in the Dutch East Indies, including the island Wetar where the Myrmidon is shown alongside several native canoes. The final drawings, most of them only in pencil, show various ports in Australia, ending with a drawing of the collision between Myrmidon and HMS Tyne in 1887. Among the Australian drawings, is a watercolour drawing of a lady, titled "day dreams", and the album ends with a watercolour portrait of Queen Victoria. Near the end is a large two page panorama of the bombardment of Alexandria by a British fleet in 1882, during the Anglo-Egyptian War, which led to the British occupation of Egypt. If the artist witnessed this event, he must have been on a different ship as Myrmidon did not take part in that action.
Walter Spinks (ca. 1856-after 1886) was "painter, 2nd class" aboard HMS Myrmidon. However, the South Wales Police Gazette of March 1886 mentions Spinks as a deserter. Since one of the drawings in the album shows an event in April 1887, Spinks either returned to Myrmidon or the album remained aboard and this drawing was made by someone else.
Numbered in yellow chalk on the front. Binding worn, most of the leaves loose but in excellent condition.
  • Number: 1011793
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum

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