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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 8 (November 2, 1936)

Stories and Pictures

Stories and Pictures.

In telling such reminiscences the jolly old seaman lived the best years of his life again. He told of thrilling and perilous days, ice-beset, in the Southern Ocean. One of his oil-paintings reproduced in this article shows his old ship, hard-driven running clear of the icebergs in 56 south latitude and 153 west longitude, far down in the Southern Ocean between New Zealand and Cape Horn. His painting of H.M.S. Calliope steaming out of Apia harbour in the great hurricane of 1889, is the only adequate picture of that great event that I have seen. He was always careful to obtain accurate data for his paintings. He was a seaman and an artist to the end. When last I called on him, at his little Manurewa farm homestead, he was still busy in his studio. That was in 1919, and he was eighty-eight. “My boy,” he said, “my hand is getting shaky and so are my legs, but my nerve is as good as ever. I could take a ship round the world today if my legs would only hold out.”

The brave old sailor left scores of paintings, historical and dramatic, which always found buyers. It is a pity, the thought came after going through Wellington's new Art Gallery lately, that there is such a complete lack of marine paintings there. I should like to see a Clayton or two. We could do without many of the others.