The Fanshawes' sitting room

Although this drawing is probably later, it is the opening one in the album covering Fanshawe's Pacific commission of 1848 to 1852 as captain of HMS 'Daphne'. It shows a first-floor town-house drawing room, with windows opening onto a balcony above the street, and dividing partition doors to the room behind. The picture in the centre of the side wall above the writing table shows this is Fanshawe's home: it represents 'Daphne' on the left, with HMS 'Asia' and 'Implacable' , off Alexandria in 1840. Fanshawe was then first lieutenant of 'Daphne' under Captain John Wyndham Dalling, subsequently his brother-in-law, who commissioned the original painting from Charles Seaforth to make a pair with one by him of Dalling's previous command, the 'Dido'. Seaforth completed it in 1842 and Fanshawe had a good and near same-size watercolour copy made by a Mrs Fox. The latter is reproduced in his biography (1904), f. p. 80. A crucifix prominent on the table is evidence of the Fanshawes' piety: even as a young man his reading included theology. (The family motto was 'Dux vitae ratio, in cruce victoria' - ' reason is the guide to life, in the cross lies victory'.) The architectural ornament suggests a late-18th to mid-19th-century date for the house. It is not 39 Chester Terrace, the Fanshawes' first London home from 1847 (which overlooks Regent's Park) but probably 27 Rutland Gate, to which they moved in May 1855. It is less likely to be 63 Eaton Square (from autumn 1863), and not their last home, 74 Cromwell Road, South Kensington, which they bought in 1875. The manner, subject, absence of Fanshawe's usual album caption, and a note in his biography (p. 328) also suggest it may be by his sister Frances (Mrs Dalling). On 30 November 1855 Fanshawe wrote to his own wife, Jane, from the Baltic: 'I have just returned from dining with J. Stopford and found Fanny's drawings of our rooms [27 Rutland Gate] on my table. I am very much pleased with them...'. The divided room, windows and balcony rail are also consistent with Eaton Square, however. The frame of the painting on the wall indicates it is Mrs Fox's watercolour, since the two Seaforth oils are in matched frames of plainer pattern. All three pictures are still in family hands, since Dalling died in 1853 and Fanshawe or his children at some point inherited the oils. This may have been after 1904 given that it was the watercolour copy, rather than Seaforth's original oil, that was photographed for Fanshawe's biography of that year.

Object Details

ID: PAI4605
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Fanshawe, Edward Gennys; Dalling, Frances
Date made: about 1850; 1855 or later
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Sheet: 230 x 325 mm
Parts: Album of watercolours of Madeira, Brazil, the Falkland and Pacific Islands, Chile, Panama, Mexico, Vancouver, and California (Album)

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