[Click for more detailed image]


The Painting

Watercolour and ink on paper, 45cm x 60cm. Entitled "Ship David Clark Caming [sic] into the Harbour of Malta 1820"

The painting depicts the three masted ship David Clark taking in sail in preparation for entering Grand Harbour, Malta under topsails. The fore course, main course and spanker are clewed up. The topgallant yards are lowered and the topgallants are being clewed up. The jib is being hauled down. The flying jib, foremast staysail and the three royals are furled above their yards. The British Red Ensign flies from the ensign halliard on the spanker gaff. The figurehead is a gentleman pointing. The martingale appears to be doubled. Seven guns are visible, on the port side. The ship has two boats visible on davits aft and and a long boat on the deck midships. The ship astern is, in all probability, a view of the same vessel from the starboard quarter although that ship does not appear to carry royals and carries no boat at the stern.

The rendition of the sails resembles that in Nicolas Cammillieri's signed watercolour of HMS Prososalpina dated 1817, in the collection of the Martime Museum of Malta.[1]

The title block and lettering style match several works attributed to Nicolas Cammillieri, in particular one entitled "Sovereign, John Wells Commander coming into Malta 1826" in the Peabody Museum, Boston [M8959].[2]


A Brief History of the 'David Clark'

The David Clark was built in 1816 by S. Teague at the Clive Street yards on the Hoogley River, Calcutta[3] for Messrs Ferguson and Company and named after a partner in that firm.[4] She was 608 & 29/94 tons, 123 feet 9 inches between perpendiculars, with beam of 33 feet 3 inches. [5]

In early 1820 she was in Malta having arrived from Bengal. Presumably this was when her portrait was painted. By the 27th September, 1821 she was back in Bengal having sailed from Gibraltar.[6]

In 1824 and 1825 the David Clark was involved in the East India Company's military expedition against Burma involving 20,000 troops. She was used as a hospital ship in the Arracan campaign. [7]

 Lloyd's Register records her as being in the service of the East India Company and trading between London and Madras & Bengal in 1830.[8]

In 1834 the East India Company ceased commercial activities in the east. In one of the final voyages under licence by the East India Company, the David Clark sailed from Calcutta to Singapore, China, St Helena and London from 19th August, 1833 to 28th June, 1834 with Robert Rayne as master. The log of this voyage has survived.[9]

Following the voyage under licence to the East India Company the vessel was surveyed in London on 16th August,1834. The survey indicates the the vessel was built in teak and had two decks. She was sheathed in wood in 1829 and in coppered in Calcutta in 1833. At the time of the survey she had new lower rigging and a new rudder. She is listed as carrying a long boat, a pinnace and a joley boat. Unfortunately the survey does not give the dimensions of the ship. She was classified Æ, which indicated her suitability for conveying dry cargoes worldwide.[10]

From 1834 to 1839 she worked the London-Calcutta and Calcutta-China route until January 1839 when she left London for India but put in at Cowes, leaking and had to discharge her cargo before heading to Greenock for a substantial refit.[11]

In 1839 the David Clark was chartered to bring the first bounty immigrants from Scotland to Melbourne. She left Greenock on 13th June 1839 to the tune of Lochaber No More piped by John Arthur and arrived Rio de Janeiro 15th August, 1839, stayed approximately ten days, then sailed direct for Port Phillip arriving 27th October, 1839. She departed Port Phillip for Bombay on 19th December, 1839.[12][13]

In 1841 she was back in Australian waters, transporting convicts and troops from Plymouth to Hobart, having departed on 7th June 1841, arriving 4th October, 1841. She departed Hobart on 17th October, 1841 for Bombay with ballast. [14]

I am yet to consult Lloyd's List for the period 1843 to 1848 but the indexes indicate several mentions of the ship.

On 7th September, 1853 the David Clark set sail from Manilla bound for London but encountered heavy storms and put back to Manilla, leaking, on the 12th September. Her cargo was undamaged and after re-caulking she sailed again for London, via, Melbourne, on 23rd September, 1853. On route through the Sunda Strait she hit a reef and was forced to out into Anjer, Java, on 31st October, 1853. From Anjer she made her way, leaking, to Batavia, arriving on 18th November, 1853 where she was condemned. Lloyd's List gives her master's name at this time as variously "Bond" or "Boyd" but I suspect "Bond" is merely a transcription error for "Boyd".[15]

Under a new master, Deighton, the David Clark left Batavia for Sourabaya on 20th February, 1854 but put into Samarang on 24th February, eventually arriving in Sourabaya on 6th March, 1854.[16]

The David Clark does not appear in Lloyd's List after August,1854. After setting out from Batavia on the 5th June, 1854 bound for Singapore, she is recorded as arriving Sourabaya, 5th June, 1854 and returning to Batavia on 17th June, 1854. Her last recorded master was Deyton or Deighton. Presumably she was broken up in Batavia in 1854.[17]


 Date of Departure

 Port of Departure

 Port of Call

Port of Arrival

Date of Arrival



1820 Valletta Gibraltar Calcutta 1821 Sep 27 Miller Lloyd's List
1824, Aug 21 Madras   Rangoon   Falconer Asiatic Journal Feb1825
1825, Apr 4 Bombay   Rangoon   Falconer Asiatic Journal Nov1825
1827, Jul 17 Calcutta   Isle of France   Viles Asiatic Journal Feb1828
1828 Isle of France Madras & Eskapilly Calcutta 1828, Jan 28 Viles Asiatic Journal May & July 1828
1829 Jun 16 Calcutta   London 1829 Nov 4 Viles Asiatic Journal Dec 1829
1830 Sep 2 Calcutta   Singapore 1830 Sep 26 J.B.Viles Singapore Chronicle Oct 7, 1830
1833 Sep 21 Calcutta Singapore Whampoa (Canton) 1833 Dec 24 Robert Rayne Log of the Ship David Clark 1833-1834
1834 Feb 5 Whampoa (Canton) St Helena London 1834 Jun 28 Robert Rayne Log of the Ship David Clark 1833-1834
1837 Nov 14 Bombay Singapore Canton 1838 Feb 5 Hutchinson Lloyd's List
1838 Mar 25 Canton St Helena London 1838 Sep 24 Hutchinson Lloyd's List
1839 Jan 16 London Sailed for India but returned to Cowes leaking then sailed for Greenock Greenock Callender Lloyd's List
1839 Jun 13 Greenock Rio de Janeiro Port Phillip 1839 Oct 27 Mills Shipping Arrivals and Departures Victorian Ports Vol 1
1839 Dec 19 Port Phillip   Bombay 1840 Mar 3 Bruce Shipping Arrivals and Departures Victorian Ports Vol 1
1840 Mar 21 Bombay   Aden   Mills Lloyd's List
1840 Aden   Bombay 1840 May 15 Mills Lloyd's List
1840 Jun 26 Bombay   Calcutta 1840 Jul 6 Mills Lloyd's List
1840 Calcutta Cape Town London 1841 Mar 19 Mills Lloyd's List
1841 Jun 7 Plymouth   Hobart 1841 0ct 4 Mills Shipping Arrivals and Departures Tasmania
1841 Oct 17 Hobart   Bombay   Wm.B. Mills Shipping Arrivals and Departures Tasmania
1843-1848 Yet to be detailed          
1852  Clyde   Bombay 1853 Jan 12 Boyd Lloyd's List
1853 Feb 27 Bombay   Whampoa 1853 May 25 Boyd Lloyd's List
1853 Jul 11 Canton   Manilla 1853 Jul 26 Boyd Lloyd's List
1853 Sep 22 Manilla   London   Bond Lloyd's List



1. Melita Historica. 11(1993)2(143-156) [Link]

2. Brewington, M.V. & Brewington, Dorothy, The Marine Paintings and Drawings in the Peabody Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, 1968. pp26 & 48.

3. Phipps, John, A Collection of Papers, Relative to Ship Building in India, Scott and Co, Calcutta, 1840. p107. British Library, T35395.

4. State Records NSW: Colonial Secretary Papers, 1788-1825, [4/1785] p20, 1823, Apr 25. [Reel 6063].

5. Hackman, Rowan, Ships of the East India Company, World Ship Society, Gravesend, Kent, 2001. p267. I have been unable to locate Hackman's primary sources for the tonnage and builder's measurements. The rules for determining the tonnage and burthen of ships in Britain were governed by acts of Parliament that required the keel length, breadth and half the breadth be multiplied together and divided by ninety-four [Link]. The length of the keel is normally determined by subtracting three-fifths of the breadth from the length between perpendiculars, and the width is taken at the broadest point, less the thickness of any doubling planks.

6. Lloyd's List, London, 1820-1854. Nos 5426 & 5575.

7. Asiatic Journal and Montly Register for British India and its Dependencies, London, 1824, Vol XVIII, July to December, 1824, pp332-333

8. Lloyd's Register of British and Foreign Shipping 1833, London, 1833. Underwriters, Ships in the East India Company's Service, Season 1830.

9. National Archives UK: India Office Records. IOR/L/MAR/B/153A. Log of the Ship David Clark on a Voyage from Calcutta to Singapore, China and London. 19 August, 1833 to 28 June, 1834.

10. National Maritime Museum UK. Survey 764, London, 16th August 1834.

11. Lloyd's List, London, 1820-1854. Nos 7757, 7762 & 7764.

12. Greenock Advertiser, 14th June 1839. "Yesterday, the ship David Clark left this for Port Philip, New South Wales, with upwards of 220 passengers who intend to settle in that colony. They are cheifly agriculturalists, and from their appearance and behaviour are evidently much superior to the ordinary class of emigrants. This vessel was chartered by Government, and was inspected by the Agent General of Emigration, from the Colonial Office, London, who was highly pleased with her fitting up, and all the arrangements connected with her." Several advertisements, calling for various classes of workers and tradesman as well as married couples under the age of fifty to apply to emigrate to New South Wales, had appeared in the Greenock Advertiser during the earlier months of 1839.

13. Syme, Marten A., Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Victorian Ports, Volume 1, 1788-1845, Roebuck Book, 1984-2006. p.39.

14. Hawkins Nicholson, Ian, Shipping Arrivals and Departures Tasmania Volume II 1834-1842 (Parts I, II and III) and Gazetteer of Tasmanian Shipping 1803-1842 (part IV), Roebuck, Woden, A.C.T. 1983, p208.

15. Lloyd's List, London, 1820-1854. Nos 12397, 12406, 12407 & 12446.

16. Lloyd's List, London, 1820-1854. Nos 12499, 12508 & 12523.

17. Lloyd's List, London, 1820-1854. Nos 12589, 12601 & 12602.



Andrea Cordani has been most helpful and encouraging and runs comprehensive website on East India Company Ships.

Quality reproductions of the painting can be obtained from me.

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Lance Pymble lpy5mbl2e@iinet.net.au  (Remove all the numbers -they're just there to stop spam)

Last updated 1st October, 2009.

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