FINE ART PRINTS BY ROBERT CARTER, OAM


About the artist

My interest in ocean-going sailing ships started at the age of 11, when the American barque Kaiulani dropped anchor in Port Jackson, at the end of the street where I lived. It kindled a life-long fascination which fuelled my interest in writing and illustrating maritime history.

50 years of study and maritime research

As a result of result of 50 years study and maritime research, I am considered by many to be a world authority on the square-rigged sailing ships, particularly:

The 19th century Tea Clipper Ships also feature in my portfolio.

Whilst I specialise in painting tall ships – Schooners, Barques, Barquentines, Ketches, Fishing boats, Trawlers and Sail Training Ships – I often paint Merchant ships, Naval vessels and yachts on commission. Years spent yachting and 3 years in the Royal Australian Navy enable me to produce realistic paintings of warships and pleasure craft.

The last Cape Horners

As a member of the Australian Cape Horners Association, I made contact with the last living sailors to round Cape Horn in a commercial sailing ship. As I have interviewed hundreds of these seafarers over the years I can paint these last tall ships and their global voyages with great authenticity.

St Malo medal

The International Association of Cape Horners (AICH) in St. Malo, France, awarded me the St. Malo Medal for my artwork and recording of the history of the Cape Horn Sailing Ship.

Aland Post anniversary Stamp

As most of the last sailing ships come from Mariehamn in the Aland Islands off Finland I was honoured to be asked by the Aland Post to paint a picture for a stamp and first day cover, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the last commercial grain race by Pamir and Passat between Port Victoria Australia and Europe. It was subsequently voted best stamp of the year.

Books

Over 40 of my marine paintings illustrate a maritime book I have written, titled Windjammers – the Final Story. In 1996 I founded the Australian Society of Marine Artists and have featured outstanding examples of their work in a recent book, Paint Me A Ship, along with a further 30 of my own paintings.

Order of Australia medal

In 2011 I was awarded the Order of Australia medal for my ‘services to the Arts through the research, illustration recording of the history of the last commercial sailing ships’.

Art work by Robert Carter "Clan McLeod Hove To"

High quality print of wonderful beauty.  A synopsis by the artist follows

SHF buyers receive a 40% discount

on Chromajet Spectrum 225 gsm satin paper.   (size   20.5 x 27.9 (cm) 

 

A sailing ship master, with no engines to stop or reverse, had to rely on two basic procedures if he wanted to stop his vessel for a short period. 

 

Taking in sail would be avoided, as this was time consuming and some distance would be covered before all way was off the ship.

If the wind were not too strong he could ‘heave to’, a procedure in which the yards on one mast (usually the main) were hauled around and the sails ‘backed’, to oppose the forward thrust of the sails on the other masts. This could only be done if the wind was not too strong as there were not enough forestays to support the mast with the sails aback.

 

In heavy weather, the term ‘heaving to’, was still used when the intention was not to stop the ship but to reduce sail so that the ship would not be blown over. A few sails would remain set, or ‘goose-winged’ i.e. lower topsails; to provide some steerage way. In either case a lot of leeway was made. ‘Goose-winged’ was the term used to describe the practise of furling half of a square sail, usually the weather side.

 

In this painting I have chosen to portray a situation when ‘heaving to’ was necessary. I have been told numerous stories about such an encounter and there could be several reasons why these vessels should interrupt their voyage. Sailing ships often found themselves short of food, water or tobacco towards the end of a long voyage if they had encountered unfavourable winds. A passing steamship would be a welcome sight and would be signalled by a flag hoist, with a request for food. There was an unwritten law at sea that provisions that could be spared would be given.  The transfer of an injured seaman was  another possibility. 

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Art work by Robert Carter "Tasman Crossing The barques James Craig and Louisa Craig"

High quality print of wonderful beauty.  A synopsis by the artist follows

SHF customers receive a 40% discount

Chromajet Spectrum 225 gsm satin paper.    size 20.5 x 27.9 (cm) 

 

Tasman Crossing   The barques James Craig and Louisa Craig

This painting portrays two vessels from the J.J.Craig fleet on the occasion of their crossing of the Tasman Sea together, in 1907. They had both loaded coal at Newcastle, New South Wales for Auckland and left almost at the same time. 

When this type of event occurred, it encouraged observers and the Press to call it a race, but it was far from the truth. Usually the vessels were ill-matched and became separated in their attempt to seek out favourable winds. 

With a heavy cargo like coal it was impossible to try to coax extra speed out of the ship by judicious sail trimming. It was all a matter of luck and being where a change in wind direction could be used to advantage.

The two vessels illustrated are the barques James Craig and Louisa Craig.  Louisa Craig has the painted ports that were a feature the Craig Company’s  ships.  James Craig Is shown still painted white which was a carry-over from when she was named Clan MacLeod owned by a Sir Roderick Cameron.  She was re-named James Craig in 1905 and received the ‘painted ports’ after two years.

On this occasion, after a smart passage of 9 days, James Craig arrived at Auckland a half a day ahead of Louisa Craig.

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Art work by Robert Carter "James Craig in Darling Harbour""

High quality print of wonderful beauty.  A synopsis by the artist follows

SHF customers receive a 40% discount

Chromajet Spectrum 225 gsm satin paper.       size 20.5 x 27.9 (cm) 

 

 James Craig returns to her berth in Darling Harbour after a day cruise off Port Jackson. 

Restored from derelict condition to sailing survey by the Sydney Heritage Fleet, James Craig is a testimony to the hundreds of volunteers who have spent thousands of hours and over 40 years to give her a second life.  In addition there were corporate donors and other members who, over this period were instrumental in raising the mountain of money needed for the raw and finished materials in order to complete the task; from Diesel engines to the rivets that would hold her hull plates together.

To one side is another vessel from the Heritage Fleet, the steam tug Waratah. It too, was brought back to life by similar group of volunteers. 

Darling Harbour is an arm of Sydney Harbour west of the Harbour Bridge; I have taken a certain amount of licence with this painting, as it is unlikely that in this part of the Harbour that this amount of sail would be set. 

A visitor from the UK, who had made a trip in James Craig, commissioned me to paint the vessel with all sail set and with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House in the background in the background.

 

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Art work by Robert Carter OAM "Reeling off the Knots""

High quality print of wonderful beauty.  A synopsis by the artist follows

SHF customers receive a 40% discount

Chromajet Spectrum 225 gsm satin paper.      size 20.5 x 27.9 (cm) 

 Reeling off the Knots     The barque Clan MacLeod

The barque Clan MacLeod is depicted running before a strong following wind and probably reaching her maximum hull speed during prolonged gusts. A close look will reveal that the figures on her poop are ‘Heaving the Log’ i.e. measuring the speed of the ship.

Before the introduction of the ‘Walkers Patent Log’ a ship’s speed was calculated by quite a simple process that had been in use for centuries and was still in use in some vessels during the early 20th Century.  It was carried out (weather permitting) on the poop each day at noon or at other times as decreed by the master; usually by two Apprentices and the Second Mate. 

The equipment used was quite simple. There was a reel of light line that had a series of knots tied in it at pre-calculated distances. At its end was a wood float (known as the Log) that was cast into the sea. It had to remain stationary in the water as the ship ran on. The line was attached to a peg inserted in a hole in the Log. When the procedure was completed a sharp tug on the line unshipped the peg. A secondary line spliced into the main line near the Log and was attached to the Log in a position that allowed it to be hauled back on board with minimum resistance through the water. 

There was also a fourteen second sand glass. An apprentice held the reel over his head and the Log was thrown over the stern and the knotted line allowed to run out. The Second Mate usually held the sand glass. When the first knot passed over the rail the Apprentice called out ‘turn’ and the sand glass was turned over. The knots were counted as the line ran out and when the fourteen seconds elapsed the second mate called out ‘stop’. The number of knots that passed over the rail represented the ship’s speed in nautical miles per hour.  The procedure was also called  ‘streaming the log’. 

The Walker Log was a mechanical analogue device permanently mounted on the taffrail to which a similar light line could be attached. It had a bronze spinner with helical vanes on the other end that caused the line to rotate. The revolutions were counted by the instrument and the speed and distance run were indicated on a dial. The line was braided, not layed otherwise it would unwind.

The term ‘Knots per Hour’ is often erroneously used by writers of sea stories. It is simply a Knot or nautical mile per hour.

 

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Art work by Robert Carter OAM "James Craig - The Final Voyage"

High quality print of wonderful beauty.  A synopsis by the artist follows

SHF customers  receive a 40% discount

Chromajet Spectrum 225 gsm satin paper.       size 20.5 x 27.9 (cm) 

 

 

 FINAL VOYAGE       The barque James Craig

 

The year is 1920 and a newly rigged James Craig prepares to leave her anchorage in Johnson’s Bay for Newcastle to load a cargo of coal for Hobart. 

 

Riding high out of the water she only carries the ballast that is necessary to get her there. The crew is making final preparations for her departure. The tug has taken the tow rope and the mate peers over the rail to see how much anchor cable has still to come in. It was customary for some sail to be loosened but not sheeted home until the wind was fair when the tow would be dropped. This departure would be the last she would make from Port Jackson until her complete restoration by the Sydney Heritage fleet 80 years later. 

 

I wanted to record this happening which was described to me by Bob Hewitt a crew member on that voyage and had to decide on a background that would identify the location. I chose the Colonial Sugar Refining Company as it appeared in 1920. Apart from the Glebe Island Bridge the CSR complex was the next best landmark. I searched through my files on early Sydney without finding anything that would help me portray this scene. On contacting the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, I was informed that all archived records now resided in the Noel Butlin Library at the Australian National University. I was able to obtain some aerial photographs from which I assembled a ground level elevation which had many features that had changed little in 80 years.

 

James Craig had many colour changes during her life time as well as a name change. Built as Clan McLeod her hull had been black, followed by painted ports, white then painted ports when owned by  J.J Craig & Co. of Auckland. I had to make sure that I chose the correct one for this period. Her last colour scheme was the grey and black which I have chosen.

 

The tug in the foreground is a composite of features of tugs of the period as I was unable to determine the identity of the tug that took her to sea.

The name Janet is a whim that I employ in such cases. The letters are an acronym for Jonathan, Andrew, Noni, Timothy, my children and Elizabeth my wife.

 

 

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Art work by Robert Carter OAM "The HeavingLine"

High quality print of wonderful beauty.  A synopsis by the artist follows

SHF customers receive a 40% discount

Chromajet Spectrum 225 gsm satin paper.      size 20.5 x 27.9 (cm) 

 

 The Heaving Line   The tug   Waratah

A ritual experienced by all those who went to sea in sailing ships was ‘taking a tow’. In this scene the sailing ship is about to enter port. It was accompanied by much activity by the watch and was always supervised by the Mate. Prior to taking the tow-line, sail would be reduced so that the speed of the sailing ship could match that of the tug. In this painting the upper sails - topgallants and royals, are furled and the courses are ‘up in their gear’, meaning that they are hauled up to the yards but not furled at this stage.

 

The topsails were always left until last as there might be a reason to abort the tow at the last moment. In this case the sailing ship must have the ability to get going again quickly. The breeze is setting in towards the land and the sailing ship skipper must judge the right moment to take in the remaining sail. It can be seen that the anchors are already overside, with the Mate observing that all is ready for them to be dropped when needed. 

 

‘The Heaving Line’ was a light line that was attached to the heavier tow- rope. One of the skills that an AB (able seaman) was required to possess was to be able to coil the ‘heaving line’ neatly so that it would not tangle when thrown to another vessel. It was weighted at one end. 

 

The tow- rope could be either wire or rope. It was provided by either the tug or the ship requiring a tow. The cost of the tow depended on whose line was used. Sailing ship masters preferred to use the Tug’s tow -rope as it gave them control over when the tow was dropped. Tug masters preferred the longer lasting wire. There was about 20 metres of Coir rope spliced on to the end. This rope was made from coconut fibre and was quite elastic. This absorbed the shock of the tow- line loosening and tightening as the tug went over waves.

 

 

 

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Handmade rope drink coasters

Set of 8 coasters handmade by Sally Ostlund SHF volunteer.

1 x set available

$30.00

  • 0.5 kg
  • Sold Out

Colour print . Lady Hopetoun, from Goat Island

Colour print from a woodcut created by Kevin Gillis

Printed on cotton-based paper using oil-based inks

With photo pocket.

2 prints available

$85.00

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James Craig bag, made from a sail

Handmade from an old James Craig sail,  by volunteer Sally Ostlund

One of a kind and clearly very durable

$65.00

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James Craig Handbag, made from a sail

Handmade from an old James Craig sail,  designed and made by volunteer Sally Ostlund

One of a kind and clearly very durable

one only available

$65.00

  • 0.8 kg
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A very special framed 45cm x 32cm original painting of Sydney Heritage Fleet's motor launch Harman.

Lovingly painted in watercolours and framed by one of the Fleet’s volunteer model ship builders, this wonderful artwork of the Fleet’s workhorse, Harman will be a great addition to your home or office. Harman, built in 1943 was originally attached to the naval communications establishment HMAS Harman and transported Navy personnel from ship to shore, and between the many Sydney Harbour RAN establishments, from Balmoral to the Parramatta River.

 

Donated by Fleet Member & Volunteer, Andrew Bishop

 

$250.00

  • 1 kg
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Colour Print: M.B. Protex in Mort's Bay

Print on cotton-based paper using oil-based inks.

Mounted  on heavy card with photo pockets

 

size including mount 285 x 355 mm

$85.00

  • 0.25 kg
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James Craig Teddy Bear

 

40 cm tall

Dressed in blue sailor's uniform which can be removed for washing. Answers to the name 'Jimmy'. 

Available for postage ($18) or for collection from Sydney Heritage Fleet Offices at Wharf 7

$25.00

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Reusable Coffee Cup

Firm moulded plastic cup with cap (non-sealing: incorporates sipper slot)

SHF logo grip band offers heat protection.

Washable, re-usable

$8.00

  • 0.25 kg
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James Craig microfibre cloth cleaner

 

Carrying the James Craig painting, a useful wiper for camera lens, phone glass etc. requiring soft non greasy non abrasive cleaning medium

Packed in a matchbook -style pouch. cloth size approx 120 mm x 120 mm

microfibre wipe

$4.00

  • 0.15 kg
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Magnet

 

 

microfibre wipe

$2.00

  • 0.15 kg
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Postcards

 

 

microfibre wipe

$1.00

  • 0.15 kg
  • Available
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A Gift Voucher can be used to give a friend or family member an unforgettable experience aboard one of the Fleet's special vessels under steam or sail

Gift Vouchers  allow your friend or relative to take part in Fleet cruises and events. Various prices, all out-of-the- ordinary experiences,

 

< click on photo to see all the current events

 

 


Are paperweights still useful? Here's a genuine historic relic with practical value! 

The hulk of James Craig as found in Recherche Bay Tasmania was well rusted Thousands of the original iron rivets had to be renewed. This souvenir might make a neat gift for a Maritime fan.

Click on the photo to see more