The Loss of the Abergaveny East India Man off The Isle of Portland

Monochrome print from an engraving by Richard Corbould. In 1805 the East Indiaman, the Earl of Abergavenny (1796), captained by John Wordsworth, the brother of the poet, William Wordsworth, had travelled from Gravesend in convoy of ships bound for Bombay and China. She was heavily laden with over 400 passengers and a valuable cargo of porcelain and sterling worth £20,000. After various misadventures in the Chanel including a collision, the Abergavenny, having left Portsmouth and while being piloted through the Portland Roads on the 5th February during worsening weather and failing light, was driven onto the Shambles, a bank of sand and gravel about 1.9 miles (3km) out from Weymouth beach.
The image depicts the top-masts of the Abergavenny exposed against dark storm clouds with figures desperately clinging to the shrouds and rigging as the rest of the ship is engulfed by fierce waves. At about midnight two small sloops arrived (one shown in the print) and sent out boats to rescue the remaining men from the rigging and carry them to the mainland. However over 260 lives were lost in the disaster including that of Captain John Wordsworth, last seen hanging onto a shroud.

Object Details

ID: PAD6368
Collection: Fine art
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Corbould, Richard; Stratford, J.
Places: Unlinked place
Vessels: Earl of Abergavenny (1796)
Date made: 18 Feb 1806
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Mount: 168 mm x 219 mm

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