'Pitcairn's Island, Augt 12th 1849'

No. 8 in Fanshawe's Pacific album, 1849 - 52. Captioned by the artist on the album page below the image, as title, with the further note on the island's height: '1200 ft - The Village is on the green patch about 500ft above the sea.' This drawing, showing Fanshawe's ship 'Daphne' off Pitcairn, is reproduced in his 1904 biography, f. p. 184. The latter also gives a full account of his stay and observations there and (in fairly bloody detail) of the fate of the 'Bounty' mutineers, as told to him by their children (pp. 183-95). 'Daphne' arrived at Pitcairn from Valparaiso on 11 August, having been becalmed in sight of it on the 10th: 'on getting near,' Fanshawe wrote to his wife, 'and particularly on landing, we found it very beautiful, richly clothed in tropical verdure, with the fields well and carefully cultivated with yams, sweet potatoes, &c; some crags and precipices. It is only about five and a half miles in circumference and 1,200 feet high, and the sea is deep and blue close to the rocks. The village is a straggling one, built of wood, about 500 feet above the sea...One of the objects of my going there was to ascertain whether they [the 'Bounty' descendants] were getting too numerous for the island. This is not yet the case; nor will it be for years; and they all have a great repugnance to leave...until obliged....' (p. 194). Fanshawe found the population to be '151 souls' from whom the 'principal personages' who came out to meet him were Simon Young (magistrate for that year) and Arthur Quintal. The former was a grandson and the latter a son of the mutineers. The 'pastor and teacher' on the island was George Nobbs, who had arrived before the death in 1829 of John Adams, the last surviving mutineer, and took over this role from him, though not himself formally ordained until 1852/3. In June 1856, the Pitcairners - then 194 in all - were moved to Norfolk Island, off the eastern Australian coast, though some later returned. Fanshawe's son, Admiral Sir Arthur Fanshawe (1847-1936) also met some of those his father had, on Norfolk Island, while commander on the Australian station in 1903. This is one of a group of three Fanshawe drawings of Pitcairn, PAI4613 - PAI4615.

Object Details

ID: PAI4613
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Fanshawe, Edward Gennys
Places: Pitcairn Island
Date made: 12 Aug 1849
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Sheet: 126 x 179 mm
Parts: Album of watercolours of Madeira, Brazil, the Falkland and Pacific Islands, Chile, Panama, Mexico, Vancouver, and California (Album)

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