The Lady Castlereagh dismasted in a cyclone off Madras, 24 October 1818

A 19th-century British School oil painting of the ‘Lady Castlereagh’ sinking in a cyclone off Madras, 24 October 1818. The ship is shown in the final stages of her destruction, dismasted and beyond hope, with her rigging strewn in the violent sea and a few desperate figures clinging to her stern. Under the ownership of Henry Callender, the 820 ton Lady Castlereagh made her first voyage for the East India Company to Bengal in April 1803. She made seven voyages for the Company in all, mainly to Bengal, but also to St Helena, Madras and, finally, to China. In February 1809 she was recorded under the command of Captain William Hamilton, owned by Miss Jane Chrystie. By the time of her next voyage, which commenced in May 1811, William Hamilton had taken over ownership of the vessel. The last time she is recorded in East India Company service was in June 1817 having reached England at the end of a seventh voyage. Clearly the incident depicted by the painting took place during an eighth voyage to the east, but not in the service of the Company. During this final voyage, the ship was contracted to the government for convict transport. She sailed for Sydney in 1817, landing 220 convicts in April 1818. The incident depicted in the painting occurred on the return voyage, as recorded in the eyewitness account "Narrative of a Voyage to India; of a Shipwreck on board the Lady Castlereagh; and a Description of New South Wales" by W.B. Cramp (1823). The National Maritime Museum holds ship assurance documents dated to 1808-1810 for a Lady Castlereagh [MSS/85/062.4].

Object Details

ID: BHC3437
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: British School, 19th century
Vessels: Lady Castlereagh (1802)
Date made: 19th century
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Macpherson Collection
Measurements: Painting: 354 mm x 480 mm x 10 mm

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