During the height of the Industrial Revolution, Newcastle-upon-Tyne served as a prominent hub for coal production, engineering, and shipbuilding due to its strategic location along the Tyne River. Accordingly, portraits of ships built at Newcastle or launched nearby became a popular subject for aspiring artists of the region. A handwritten label on the back of Brigantine 'Lily' identifies the ship as Lily Newcastle, yet only the name appears on a flag and along the side of the bow, leading one to surmise that perhaps the artist believed her to have been built at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Unfortunately, neither the brig’s name, Lily, nor the name of the captain, W. Gair, appear in available archives, thus their exploits and life stories remain a mystery. However, the island beacon depicted by the artist, Coquet Lighthouse, continues to guide mariners along the Northumberland coast.
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With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 25510, January 1968
To private collection, Norfolk, Virginia, November 1968 to 2022
To a private trust of the above collector, 2022 to present
- (lower left recto) CAPT. Wᴹ GAIR
- Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. 22510
- (handwritten note on top stretcher) Lily Newcastle / Capt. W [G]air Sighting / Coquet Island / Robt. Tay—(torn, illegible) / 1879