info about boat in this painting?

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  • 26 Jan 2020 04:34
    Reply # 8683324 on 8676854
    Anonymous wrote:
    David wrote:

    In the JRA Library, we have a copy of

    Chinese Junks and Other Native Craft (well illustrated) by Ivan A Donnelly

    Kelly & Walsh Ltd. - Shanghai - 1924 (Reprint 1988)

    It seems to me that this would be a good candidate for digitising.

    I've just spotted a copy for sale in the UK, and have bought it, quick, before anyone else does! I'll see if I can scan it. It claims to be from 1920, printed in Shanghai and in very good condition. Browning to endpapers - otherwise clean and unmarked. Card boards encased in paper jacket in good order with age related wear to edges and spine.


    I'm not at all sure that the book in the JRA library is the same as the book that I've bought - the titles are different.

    Anyway. I've now scanned all the pages at the highest resolution, 600 dpi, and uploaded them here

    I have a copy of Chinese Junks and Other Native Craft, by Ivon A Donnelly.  It is about A5 size and was printed by Earnshaw Books in Hong Kong in 2008.  A copy of this might be easier to locate - and cheaper - than the 1924 original.
  • 25 Jan 2020 20:50
    Reply # 8680720 on 8604194

    I agree with all that you say Arne, except your conclusion.

    My first thought was that the “Marshall Johnson” painting was made for a children’s story book. It is indeed disproportionate, the freeboard and sheer line are a little exaggerated. The bulwarks and rails look laughably “agricultural”. The Donnelly drawing is much more believable.

    The “Marshall Johnson” painting has some correct details – too correct for an artist of 1880, which was what first led to my suspicion that it may have been painted much later than 1880. But there are other details, particularly in the rigging, which are clear, but show that the artist does not understand – for example the main lift/lazy jack which looks like a running backstay – another example is the odd structure on the deck amidships, on the painting, which is probably a completely misunderstood winch gear. These same detailed items appear also on the Donnelly pen-and-ink, if you enlarge it,  but executed differently as Donnelly knew what they were.

    The incorrect proportions are to be expected from an artist who does not understand what he is painting. (Note also, the painting was not photographed square-on which may have foreshortened it in the vertical direction, although I do not think this factor counts for much.) When marine artists in the UK were first confronted by a Chinese junk (never before seen in the UK) this was what they made of it. This was how four different marine artists actually saw the Keying in the 1840s.


    My mother was something of an artist and could make quite good landscapes, but she had no understanding of boat design and could never get a boat to look right – she couldn’t see a boat in the way you or I would see it. My guess is that the creator of the “Marshall Johnson” painting tried to copy the Donnelly and saw certain details but did not understand them. We tend to forget that most people have never looked at a set of lines, have never considered hull structure or the function of sails or rigging, and would have difficulty making a photographic image of something as complex as a sailboat which would be satisfactory to you and me.

    Yet if you go back to the original files, as posted by Shemaya and David, and blow them up for close study - there are some remarkably similar features, too many for coincidence (for instance the furled lower main panel, the number of panels, the textural patterns on the topsides to name a few), which leave me convinced that the two pieces of art do represent the same boat, and that the “Marshall Johnson” must most likely be an attempt at copying the Donnelly. I’m happy to be proved wrong and I do hope more information turns up (perhaps from Carolie).

    Last modified: 27 Jan 2020 20:03 | Anonymous member
  • 25 Jan 2020 10:23
    Reply # 8677140 on 8604194
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    When the first coloured picture (“Marshall Johnson”) was shown, I could not help feeling that the vessel looked like a large toy-boat: Too tubby hull and tall topsides, and too little rig.

    The Ivan Donnelly pen-and-ink drawing shows a much more “real” sailing craft, with a much taller rig. The proportions between hull and rig simply looks more right to me.

    Therefore, if the coloured drawing is a copy of the Donelly drawing (which I doubt), I think it is a rather poor one.

    Arne


    Last modified: 25 Jan 2020 10:25 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 25 Jan 2020 09:25
    Reply # 8676854 on 8638707
    David wrote:

    In the JRA Library, we have a copy of

    Chinese Junks and Other Native Craft (well illustrated) by Ivan A Donnelly

    Kelly & Walsh Ltd. - Shanghai - 1924 (Reprint 1988)

    It seems to me that this would be a good candidate for digitising.

    I've just spotted a copy for sale in the UK, and have bought it, quick, before anyone else does! I'll see if I can scan it. It claims to be from 1920, printed in Shanghai and in very good condition. Browning to endpapers - otherwise clean and unmarked. Card boards encased in paper jacket in good order with age related wear to edges and spine.


    I'm not at all sure that the book in the JRA library is the same as the book that I've bought - the titles are different.

    Anyway. I've now scanned all the pages at the highest resolution, 600 dpi, and uploaded them here

    1 file
  • 25 Jan 2020 00:51
    Reply # 8674032 on 8604194
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Look at that! I am so impressed with the knowledge base here, that has led to all this explanation for that painting. I've so far not heard back from Carolie – I'm afraid it's not the best of news for her painting – but how fascinating, everything that you all have put together. David, what a treasure that you came upon the book with such a matching drawing – and then went and found it. The whole process is really so impressive.

    Thanks to all! If I can get more information on the story about that painting, I'll pass it right along.

    Cheers,

    Shemaya

  • 24 Jan 2020 22:26
    Reply # 8673213 on 8604194

    Surely David has found the original drawing, and its from around 1920.

    The "Marshall Johnson" on the left is not quite a coloured-in version of Ivan Donnelly's pen-and-ink "Foochow Deep Sea Fisher" on the right. Small detail  and proportion differences can be spotted. But it sure does look like the same boat. Since Donnelly actually lived in the area and had studied junks in detail, there can be little doubt that Donnelly's (1920s) is the original and the painting on the left is a copy - and could hardly be a genuine Marshall Johnson Jnr  painting (1880s). Comparison of Marshal Johnson Jnr's signature, and the "Marshall Johnson" signature on the above watercolour does also tend to suggest a clumsy forgery.



    It looks like David was lucky enough to pick up a first edition of Donnelly (1920 Kelly and Walsh publication) - evidently there have been a number of subsequent editions, some of which contain coloured versions of some of the drawings. Perhaps someone can check to see if there is a Donnelly colour version of the "Foochow Deep Sea Fisher" for closer comparison.

    So there you have it Shemaya - Annie guessed Donnelly and David found the boat. Carolie's painting seems to be a fake Marshall Johnson copied from a Donnelly pen-and-ink and made some time after 1920, of a type found in Foochow (today's Fuzhou, an ancient site of Chinese boatbuilding, in Fujian Province). Can Carolie please provide the provenance for her painting, which might wrap up this interesting journey?

    ..........

    There does not seem to be much on Donnelly on the internet (apart from a detailed biography here) and it would be interesting if someone could answer David's question regarding S.V.M. who wrote the preface to Donnelly's first edition of Chinese Junks and other Native Craft. 

    ..........

    While unsuccessfully searching for that (and completely off the subject) I found an article from Hong Kong (Forgotten at Home, Hong Kongs's Junks Sail on Foreign Waters) which has a short slide show.

    Including this photo which caught my eye - are those fake gun ports painted on the topsides (to ward off pirates?) - something like the "Blackwall Frigates" of Great Britain. Also on this slide show you can spot Fantail and Zebedee (with Blondie in the background) - and a tantalising reference to a current project of our member John Kwong, of which there will be more details on our website's "Featured Boat" in the next couple of months - stay tuned for that!



    Last modified: 25 Jan 2020 02:24 | Anonymous member
  • 24 Jan 2020 13:24
    Reply # 8669714 on 8604194

    Ivon A Donelly title page and prefatory note. Who is S. V. M.?

    3 files
  • 24 Jan 2020 13:00
    Reply # 8669560 on 8604194

    I received my little Ivon A Donelly book in the post today. It has the pictures hand-glued onto the pages.

    Is this the boat in question? Foochow Deep Sea Fisher. It looks pretty close to me.

    1 file
    Last modified: 24 Jan 2020 13:47 | Anonymous member
  • 21 Jan 2020 15:51
    Reply # 8641405 on 8604194

    That's an interesting blog, David, and I'm envious you picked up a copy of that book.

    "Marshall Johnson" junk bow and Donnelly's Pechili/Kiangsu trader.

    Marshall Johnson is obviously not Donnelly (I mean, Donnelly wouldn't sign his paintings with someone else's name), but his junk certainly has that vertical square bow transom. The question is, whether this Marshall Johnson is the real Marshall Johnson Jnr, and it does strike me as being a little doubtful.


    (if anyone's interested in the location, Pechili (Beizhili) is fairly well north, known today as Bohai, gateway to Beijing and Tianjin by sea. Somewhat south of the Bohai, towards Shanghai, is Kiangsu (today it is Jiangsu Province.) So I suppose this style of vessel was found up on the north east coast of China. By identifying that particular style of bow, David might have provided a useful clue as to the origin of this mysterious junk.)

    Last modified: 21 Jan 2020 19:20 | Anonymous member
  • 21 Jan 2020 09:36
    Reply # 8638809 on 8633216
    Annie wrote:

    I know nothing at all about painting, but the one that you showed reminds me more of Ivon A Donelly than anybody else, and I'd guess at a Wenchow Fisher, except that in 'your' painting, there only seem to be two masts.  I don't have time to scan that one, but here is a file of one of Donnelly's paintings.

    Here's a

    useful blog about Ivon A Donelly, with pictures.

    The Hangchow Trader is also something like Shemaya's picture, but not all that close.

    The Pechili/Kiangsu Trader has the same large, square bow transom.


    Last modified: 21 Jan 2020 09:55 | Anonymous member
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