Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Photograph - The prow of the Demerara with carved figurehead
  • The prow of the Demerara with carved figurehead
    Jones, Calvert Richard Rev., born 1802 - died 1877
  • Enlarge image

The prow of the Demerara with carved figurehead

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Bristol (photographed)

  • Date:

    1851 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Jones, Calvert Richard Rev., born 1802 - died 1877 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    salted paper print from calotype negative

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased 1983

  • Museum number:

    PH.60-1983

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 353, box C

This photograph of the prow and figurehead of the S S Demerara is an early example of photojournalism. The Demerara was the second largest vessel in the world. In a nationally reported incident, she went aground on her way to have her engines fitted. Badly damaged, she was towed back into harbour and dry docked.

The photographer, Calvert Jones, was introduced to photography by a cousin of William Henry Fox Talbot, the British inventor of photography. Jones' work stands out in the early development of photography because of hid ability to fuse his new skill in photography with his experience as a marine watercolorist.

Physical description

Prow of a boat, with a carved figurehead, in a dry dock. The hull is supported with rough hewn timber props. The railing on the deck have the same pattern as PH38-1983. There is building (part of a gas works) in the distance behind the figurehead Most of the print is faded, especially the figurehead and a wide band on all edges of the image.

Place of Origin

Bristol (photographed)

Date

1851 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Jones, Calvert Richard Rev., born 1802 - died 1877 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

salted paper print from calotype negative

Dimensions

Height: 18.4 cm, Width: 22.2 cm

Object history note

The prow and figurehead of the Demerara and its companion photographs of the stern and paddlebox are early examples of photojornalism. Built in Bristol, the Demerara was the second largest vessel in the world. In a nationally reported incident, she went aground on the River Avon on her way to have her engines fitted. Badly damaged, she was towed back into harbour and dry docked as this photograph shows.

The photographer, Calvert Jones, was one of the few Britons to produce a substancial body of calotypes in Britain and abroad. He had been practising photography since 1839 He learned of the process through a cousin of W.H.F. Talbot, who was neighbour in South Wales and a close friend from Oxford.

Historical context note

The figurehead of the Demerara was removed before Demerara was converted to a sailing ship, the British Empire. It was installed on the offices of an auctioneers at Quay Head, where it remained until the 1930s. When attempts were made to remove it before the building was demolished, it crumbled to pieces. The pineapple that the figure is holding survived and is in the collection of the Bristol Maritime Museum.
The building behind the figurehead is the gasholder from the Cannons Marsh gas works on the far side of the water.

Descriptive line

Prow of a ship in a dry dock

Materials

Salted paper

Techniques

Calotype

Subjects depicted

Boat; Figurehead; Quay; Dry dock

Categories

Photographs

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.