BELLAIRS, Walford Thomas (1794-1850)
[Grenada] Original signed pencil and wash drawing of The Carenage, St. George's, Grenada
Grenada, West Indies: 1850. Pencil and wash on paper, signed in ink lower right 'W.T. Bellairs R.N.', inscribed in pencil on verso 'Caranage [sic.] Grenada / July 50 / W T. Bellairs' verso. (Pin holes, neat repairs to two tears to lower margins). Sheet size: 6 7/8 x 10 5/8 inches.
An important view of the inner harbour of St. George's, Grenada: the name 'Carenage' recalls a time when this calm, protected bay was where wooden ships were periodically 'careened' or beached to allow for the cleaning of barnacles from the hull.
According to William R. O'Byrne's A naval biographical dictionary (London: 1849) Vol. 1, p.70, Bellairs joined the Navy in 1809 and made Lieutenant in 1819. From 1842 he served as Admiralty Agent on board a 'contract Mail steam-vessel'. He evidently travelled widely: the National Maritime Museum in London hold two of his West Indian drawings, the National Library of Australia a watercolour of a scene in Panama, and a collection of his drawings of the Far East were sold in 1982.
As the present drawing shows he was clearly gifted, and more than a match for many of the professional artists working at the time. His 'professional' status received contemporary confirmation when his watercolour 'View of the town of St. Thomas, in the West Indies' was drawn on stone by W.L. Walton, lithographed and hand-coloured by Charles Hullmandel, and published as a separate print in about 1843 (a copy of this print is held in the New York public library collection, and is described by Deak).
Cf. Deák 525; cf. Martyn Gregory Galley "Lieutenant Walford Thomas Bellairs R.N. ... Admiralty agent and ... artist in the Far East" (london: 1982); cf. Rex Nan Kivell Collection NK10620; cf. Stokes Foreign Views, P.1840-50-H11A.