Saturday, 25 September 2010

Margaret of Anjou, and her son Edward, Prince of Wales Richard Westall

Richard Westall - Shepherd with dog & sheep

William Westall lithograph Thames at Hammersmith

Robert Westall North of England watercolour

Robert Westall Lake District view

Drawn & engraved William Westall Distant view Fontains Abbey

Fountains Abbey drawn & engraved by William Westall


Following its circumnavigation of Australia (1801-1803) the Investigator was considered unsuitable for further survey work and Captain Flinders was offered use of HMS Porpoise. However, it was decided that this vessel was not up to the task so it was thought sensible for Flinders to return to England to find a vessel in which he could return to Australia. Lieutenant Fowler was in command of the Porpoise but Governor King, the British representative in New South Wales instructed Fowler to comply with any orders Flinders might give.
William Westall was on board when they set sail on 10th August, 1803 along with Captain Palmer of the Bridgewater and Captain Park of the Cato. A week later at 9.30 p.m. on 17th August Porpoise struck a coral reef and heeled over, the Cato was also shipwrecked but the Bridgewater was unharmed. However the next day the Bridgewater sailed away without attempting to assist the stranded survivors.

Westall’s account from Naufragia follows reports from Flinders and Fowler. They can be viewed on Google. Volume 1 of Naufragia has not been seen and is not on Google.
The use of capital letters by Westall is as published but quotation marks have been included to assist with the clarity of the report.
This account is probably the longest written document penned by William Westall during his life.

NAUFRAGIA, or Historical Memoirs of Shipwreck and the providential by James Stanier Clarke Vol 2 (1806)
P 385/8

Additional remarks communicated by Mr William Westall (re Shipwreck on Wreck Reef described earlier by Flinders and Fowler).

We were all assembled in the Cabin, when I suddenly heard the Crew in great confusion, and hurrying on Deck, beheld Breakers on her Larbord Bow. The Coral Reef showed itself in a long line of Foam, seen indistinctly through Gloom of the approaching Night.

When the Ship struck, one general Groan resounded throughout, for npt a possibility appeared that anyone could be saved. The Night was unusually dark, and for these Latitudes remarkably so. ‘Come, my Lads!’ said Lieutenant Fowler, whose accustomed calmness and serenity experienced no abatement, ‘I have weathered worse Nights than this: Come! Put a good face upon it. Cut away the mizzen Shroud and Stays!’ – The Mainmast not going, he then ordered it to be cut down, in order to ease the Ship.

During this dreadful Scene, after the first confusion had subsided, all was coolness, and prompt Obedience : nor did the smallest disposition for drunkenness, or plunder, appear amongst the Crew. It was then that the superiority of British Seamen, and their animated reliance upon Providence, was impressed on my mind in a manner that will never. Many of them, though drenched with the Sea, and exhausted with Fatigue, would only accept with moderation the Spirits served out to recruit their strength.

For about a quarter of an Hour after the Ship struck, it was doubtful whether we should be burnt, or drowned; for a Candle which had been left in the Gun Room, had set some Curtains on fire, and the flame quickly increasing, was rapidly gaining ground. Amidst this double death, if I may use the expression, immediate precautions were adopted, and with success. The whole of my attention was then divided, between many an anxious glance after the Lights of the Bridgewater, and then listening, with dread of the Ship’s parting, to every crash I heard. The crew laboured incessantly; and what is hardly credible, at least to Landsmen, after our men had done all they could, many of them had the resolution to go to sleep, and that soundly, in the gaping wreck of the vessel. Their example was contagious: for after some time, having jammed myself into a secure place, I was also rocked by the Tempest into forgetfulness.

As the Day broke, the horrid situation of the Cato, without the Surf, was disclosed to the Crew of the Porpoise:
when our Men, who had hitherto borne all their sufferings with firmness, were now overcome with apprehension for the fate of the other Crew, and burst into Tears: whilst they, poor wretches rejoiced to find, that we were so much better off than themselves, nobly gave us three distinct Cheers! There was an awful sublimity in this act of Heroism which I cannot describe. I watched their Fate with peculiar solicitude : every Sea that broke over the Wreck of the poor Cato, seemed to be their grave; and, to my agitated mind, their number appeared gradually to diminish.

One Man, more resolute than the rest, after continued exertions, and being overwhelmed repeatedly by the Waves, at length reached a part of the Reef, that was formed between the Coral Breakers and the Sand Bank; and with faltering steps, naked, and bleeding, gained the Wreck of the Porpoise, within the Surf. Great God! With what sensations did I behold him immediately extend his hands towards Heaven, and with uplifted eyes pour forth the fervent piety of a Shipwrecked Mariner. We immediately procured him refreshments and covering: but it was many minutes before he could inform us, that after Mr Park had made two fruitless attempts to get through the Surf, this Seaman, who was reckoned to be the best swimmer on board the Cato, had determined to perish, or surmount the threatening obstacles; yet he declared it to be his firm opinion, that few, or none of his Shipmates could escape. However towards Noon the Surf abated; and, with the exception of three, as mentioned in Lieutenant Fowler’s account, the Crew of the Cato left their perilous situation, and received support from the stores of the Porpoise.

When our whole Company had assembled on the Sandbank, Captain Flinders walked up to a Fire, which the Crew of the Porpoise had made, to warm the Cato’s people, who had been dreadfully bruised in swimming through the Surf; and asked the Carpenter, where he had procured his Fire-Wood? Mr Mark informed him, that it consisted of a part of the Stern Post of a Ship, which must have been nearly twice the size of a Frigate, and from every appearance, had remained there a considerable time. Few Ships of the size of this Stern-Post have ever been in those Seas, except the Ships under the command of Mons. De la Perouse: and besides, if we refer to the conclusion of that Navigator’s last Letter from New South Wales, we shall find, that his intended track would probably carry him towards the Reef, on which the above remains were found. It was therefore our general opinion, that we were cast away on the very same Bank, upon which poor Perouse had perished.

The translator of d’Entrecasteaux’s Voyage in search of the Perouse, inserts in the preface [printed in Debrett, 8vo Vol I page 23] the last letter written by that Navigator to the Marshall de Castries, then Minister of the Marine, dated Botany Bay, 7th Feb, 1788. The substance of it is exactly similar to those dated from Avatscha [printed by Johnson, 8vo Vol111 pages 395 & 364] Sept 7, and Sept 21, 1787, to Mons Fleurieu, and the same Minister.

“I shall [Perouse sailed from Botany Bay in the 5th of March 1788 ibid Vol page 414] again make a run to the Friendly Islands, and I shall strictly perform everything that has enjoined me by my Instruction, in regard to the South part of New Caledonia, Mendana’s Island of Santa Cruz, the Southern Coast of Surville’s Terre des Arsacides, and the land called by Bouganville, La Louisiade; and endeavour to ascertain whether this last makes a part of New Guinea, or is separated from it. Towards the end of July, 1788, I shall pass between New Guinea and New Holland, by a different channel than Endeavour Strait, provided such an one exist. During the month of September, and a part of October, I shall visit the Gulf of Carpentaria and all the west Coast of New Holland, as far as Van Diemaman’s Land; but yet in such a manner, that it may be possible for me, to get to the Northward, in time to arrive at the Isle of France in the beginning of December, 1788.”

On p. 396 of Naufragia during a report by Fowler he writes: A View of our desolate abode was taken by Mr Westall [whence one, on a reduced Scale, was made by that Gentleman for the Frontispiece].

(As this engraving is not in Vol II it must be in Vol 1. It would be interesting to know what view is used. RJW)

Sunday, 19 September 2010


By Richard J. Westall

There is an interesting network of art and naval history covering the years between Captain James Cook’s famous voyage on the Endeavour (1768 - 1771),
with Joseph Banks (1743 – 1820) as his botanist, the voyage of Resolution ( 1772 – 1775) when William Hodges R.A. (1744 -1797) was Cook’s artist and the first decade of the 19th century with the death of Nelson and the aftermath.

Along with James Cook (1728 – 1779), Banks and Hodges we find several others enmeshed in this network. We have George Dance (1741 – 1825) and his nephew Commander Sir Nathaniel Dance (1748 – 1827), Richard Westall R.A. (1765 – 1836) and his half-brother William Westall A.R.A. (1781 – 1850) and their brother in law William Daniell R.A. (1769 -1837) with his uncle Thomas Daniell R.A. (1749 – 1840). We can appreciate these relationships if we consider portraits associated with these men..

The celebrated portrait of Captain Cook by George Dance in 1776 starts our journey. Next we have a portrait of Sir Joseph Banks when he was President of the Royal Society, drawn by George Dance in 1803 and published as an engraving by William Daniell in 1811. Next we have the portrait of William Hodges by Richard Westall exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1791 and engraved for publication in 1792. Then there is a portrait of Sir Nathaniel Dance by Richard Westall, engraved and published in 1805. More problematical, but worthy of serious consideration is the miniature portrait of Matthew Flinders (1774 – 1814), executed in 1801 and attributed to both Richard and William Westall. I will argue that it is probably by the former. William Westall (Richard’s half-brother) sailed with Captain Matthew Flinders on the Investigator (1801 – 1803) as landscape artist, when William Daniell decided not to go on this journey in order to marry Richard Westall’s sister Mary. There is also a fine portrait of William Daniell (c1800) by Richard Westall and another of Mrs William Daniell (c 1800), both of which are at the Royal Academy. William Hodges married the Westall’s cousin Anne Carr as his third wife and Richard Westall exhibited a portrait of Mrs Hodges and her daughter at the R.A. in 1790. George Dance drew a portrait of Richard Westall in 1803, which was mistakenly said to be of William Westall on an engraving and George Dance completed a pencil portrait of Thomas Daniell R.A. (1749 – 1840) in 1800. The natural culmination of this maritime web comes with the Nelson paintings by Richard Westall (1), four of which were exhibited at the R.A. in 1807.

There is more to these connections of exploration, naval exploits and artistic endeavour than portraits. I will be examining this network, but first a further word on two of the portraits. The portrait of Richard Westall by George Dance was published as an engraving of William Westall and is listed as such in the British Museum’s ‘Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits’ (2) However the identity of the sitter was questioned by Donald Simpson, co-editor of ‘Westall’s Drawings’ (3) which was about William Westall’s work mainly in Australia during the voyage of the Investigator (1801 – 1803) . Simpson had every intention of using this portrait in the volume to illustrate the countenance of William but his research at the Royal Academy turned up the same portrait in reverse as being of Richard Westall, signed ‘Geo. Dance Jan 31st 1803’. Simpson reflected that ‘At that date Richard Westall was a well known R.A. living in London; William was an obscure young man on board the Investigator off the Australian coast.’ (3)

The other portrait, where attribution has been uncertain, is the miniature of the profile of Matthew Flinders. No artist’s name has been known for painting this portrait. However in 1971 an historical romance about the life of Matthew Flinders declared ‘The commander sat for his miniature to the nineteen year old Westall’.(4) This fictional work, based on historical fact provides no source for this suggestion.

In 1981 I wrote to the National Portrait Gallery suggesting the artist of the miniature might well be Richard, rather than William, Westall. Richard Walker responded to this tentative attribution advising me he was ‘responsible for the Regency Catalogue’ at the Gallery. He continued ‘I am specially grateful to have Ernestine Hill’s reference to Flinders…I wonder where she found that little nugget! We have of course Helen Jones’s copy here, painted in 1919 from the original miniature given to the Mitchell Library, New South Wales, by Professor Flinders-Petrie, and I wrote some time ago to ask if there were any visible signature or inscription on it – the answer was none... I think your idea of Richard Westall as a likely artist is a good one’. He continued by describing Richard Westall’s miniature watercolour ‘of the three Spencer children’ at Althorp, which might well be worth seeing to get a fairly contemporary comparison. (5) I wrote to Earl Spencer but was advised the miniature could not be found, although it is listed and no sale of the item is known. In fact several miniatures by Richard Westall of Earl Spencer’s family, are known. (6)

Richard Westall had learnt miniature painting from John Alefounder (1760 – 1820) and visited Flinders at Portsmouth in June, 1801. Farington reports that ‘Westall called to desire me to express my opinion on his Brother William’s abilities to Sir Joseph Banks. He left his brother on board the Ship (Investigator) at Portsmouth’. (7) Rex Reinits, using documents in Melbourne Public Library, reports that ‘He (Richard Westall) and Flinders apparently got on well and Richard was to write to Flinders, thanking him for his kindness to young William’.(8) This could have been important as Flinders observed on July 5, 1801: ‘My messmates improve upon acquaintance; even young Westall, though his foolish days are not yet passed.’ (9) Richard helped William with £200 in order to meet the expense of outfitting himself. The East India Company also provided a grant of £600 for ‘scientific staff’ including William. The Company promised a similar sum at the end of the voyage. (10) It is thus more likely that Richard Westall, rather than his younger brother, who executed a quick miniature portrait of Flinders for his wife shortly before departure.

Richard Westall is little known outside specialist art circles today but he had thirty years of fame, covering the last two decade of the 18th century and the first decade of the 19th. (11) One can gauge his position to some extent, ironically enough, through the acidic pen of his severest contemporary critic Anthony Pasquin. Whose real name was John Williams. He fits the prototype of the despised critic: he had failed at his chosen occupation, been rejected as an artist but showed talent as an art critic. His observations are valuable to this day.

He contributed two guides to Royal Academy exhibitions of 1794 and 1796, just when Richard Westall was at his most popular. Of the pictures exhibited in 1794
Pasquin gave a final ‘accolade’ to Richard Westall, which might gives us a clue as to the atmosphere of the time: ‘ I am apparently severe towards Mr Westall, of whose genius I do not think cheaply, but it wants pruning and melioration; he has been precipitated to the command of the fleet, before he well knows the principles of navigation!’. (12) These naval associations were probably not accidental; Richard Westall was something of a lynchpin between the artistic and naval communities of his time.

Richard’s association with the Flinders voyage to Australia, when he held the position of a Royal Academician of note, was of assistance to his brother. Sir Joseph Banks played an even more key role. His relationship with the Admiralty over decisions prior to sailing is evident from letters between Sir Joseph and Sir Ewan Nepean, a significant figure at the Admiralty. On 28 April 1801, Banks wrote to Nepean asking whether the proposal he had sent for an alteration in the undertaking of the ‘scientific staff’ sailing on the Investigator was approved with the words ‘Any proposal you may make will be approved. The whole is left entirely to your decision.’ (13) The original proposal from the Admiralty had been that ‘the Scetches (sic) the draughtsmen may make during the voyage… should without exception be the property of the Public’. But Banks suggested that Objections to this condition were reasonable and expressed the view that sketches ‘especially slight ones’ might be made ‘in the progress of the business’ and be ‘of no importance to the Public, tho of great value to the draughtsmen for the Cultivation of their own Talents.’ Banks proposed therefore that the agreement should now read: ‘that all such drawings as shall be finished during the voyage, & all such scetches as their Lordships shall order to be Finished after the return of the Ship to England, shall be the property of the Public.’ (14)

The Flinders voyage which circumnavigated Australia ended, in reality, with a shipwreck in mid August, 1803 on a reef off the North Australian coast. Prior to this on 14 June 1803 Investigator had been deemed ‘not worth repairing in any country’ and that it would be ‘impossible in this country to put her in a state fit to go to sea’. (15) It is worth noting that this verdict was to prove entirely wrong.

The Investigator had been built in Durham as a collier named Xenophon in 1795 and was purchased by the Navy in 1798. Matthew Flinders wrote that ‘On the 19th of January 1801, a commission was signed at the Admiralty appointing me lieutenant of His Majesty’s sloop Investigator, to which name of the ship, heretofore known as Xenophon, was changed.’ (16) After being left in Sydney, condemned, the Governor of the New South Wales as representative of the Crown, discovered that the lower part of the hull of the Investigator had been found to be remarkably sound. After refitting and other work she was used by the colony and sailed to Norfolk Island in January 1805. The vessel then returned to England, sailing on 23 May 1805, arriving in October, although it was reported that ‘the single deck was almost constantly under water.’ Investigator was condemned again, this time by the Navy Board on 28 July 1810, but was sold in December of that year. The vessel was not broken up at Plymouth as has been reported but returned to merchant service, appearing in Lloyd’s Register for the first time in 1813, but under her original name Xenophon. Repairs were made several times in subsequent years. Ironically her final days were spent in Australia where she arrived in 1853. After passing hands through several owners and the last entry in the Register of British Ships is that she was broken up in 1872. Yet she remained on the Mercantile Navy List until 1882. Thus this historic vessel proved hardier than all those who had sailed on her during the Australian voyage. (17) Ann Flinders Petrie, the Captain’s great grand daughter informs us that a model of the Investigator hangs in the Seamen’s Chapel of Lincoln Cathedral. (18)

After Investigator was found unfit in Australia Flinders was offered the use of H.M.S. Porpoise to continue his survey. However it was decided that the Porpoise was unsuitable for such a task. It was thought sensible for Flinders to return to England in her under the command of Lieutenant Fowler, although Governor King instructed Fowler to comply with any orders Flinders might give. The plan was to persuade the Admiralty to give Flinders a ship so he could return to Australia and finish his task. William Westall was among the passengers. They set sail from Port Jackson on 10th August, 1803 along with Captain Palmer of the Bridgewater and Captain Park of the Cato. A week later at 9.30 p.m. Porpoise struck a coral reef and heeled over, the Cato was also shipwrecked.(19) As William wrote later: ‘After the first confusion had subsided, all was coolness…For about a quarter of an Hour after the ship struck, it was doubtful whether we should be burnt or drowned; for a Candle, which had been left in the Gun Room, had set some Curtains on fire, and the flame, quickly increasing, was rapidly gaining ground….The Crew laboured incessantly.’ The fire was dowsed and many of the crew were so tired they simply fell asleep as did William. (20)

Flinders tried to swim that night to the Bridgewater to organise a rescue attempt, but this was not possible. The next morning the party found that they were on a sandbank and the next day discovered that the Bridgewater was seemingly unharmed. Then to the shock of all those stranded the survivors saw Bridgewater sail away. Flinders realised the Bridgewater had abandoned their fellow seamen ‘without having made any effort to give assistance. It was safer in his (Captain Palmer’s) estimation, to continue his voyage and publish that were all lost, as he did not fail to do on his arrival in India.’ (21) The plight of the castaways from the Porpoise and the Cato was relieved to some extent as they were able to lodge on a dry sandbank. Cato had faired even worse than the Porpoise and three youths from that ship had drowned, being the only fatalities. Adequate provisions were transferred onto what came to be known as Wreck Reef and William was able to save most of his sketches. He later made several drawings of Wreck Reef. When back in London he painted an oil of the scene at Wreck Reef. This picture is now at the National Maritime Museum. It shows the collection of tents erected by the castaways from spars and sails taken from the two wrecked ships and depicts an upturned ensign as a sign of distress.

Another illustration of Wreck Reef in ink and watercolour by Jorgen Jorgenson (1780 – 1841) has recently come to light, entitled Loss of His Majesty’s Ship the Porpoise and dated 1804. It shows two vessels shipwrecked with seamen on a sandbank and some rowers nearby. It may be that this picture is the result of a meeting between William and Jorgensen but it is perhaps more likely that Jorgenson, who was in Australian waters at the time, met some of the seamen who travelled from the Reef back to Sydney. His illustration is incorrect if compared to William’s drawings but he may had sight of a sketch by William, acquired in some way. (22)

When Flinders left the reef with Captain Park and a crew of twelve men rowing two six-oared cutters for Sydney to obtain assistance, the seamen remaining hauled down the upturned ensign and rehoisted it the right way up. Flinders saw this as ‘a symbolic expression of contempt for the Bridgewater and of confidence in the success of our voyage.’ (23)

It was confidence well placed. It took just thirteen days for the rowers to get to Sydney and a report was made to the Governor. He contracted the captain of a merchantman, the Rolla which was bound for China, to pick up the stranded seamen and take them to Canton. Two small schooners, the Francis and the Cumberland were to accompany Rolla to the reef. The Francis was to bring back those who wished to return to Sydney. The Cumberland was described by Flinders as ‘something less than a Gravesend passage boat’. (24) It was to be used by the Captain as he desired and Flinders used this vessel in his attempt to return to England, unfortunately being detained by the French on Mauritius for some six years on the way.

The three ships sailed, after a short preparation, on 21st September. It was with great relief that the vessels were greeted when they arrived at the reef. Flinders described this experience as one of the happiest moments of his life. (25) The Captain’s plans were made known and quick decisions were needed. Most decided to travel to Canton on the Rolla, including Fowler and William, and left on 11th October just hours before William’s twenty second birthday.

William arrived in Whampoa on 14 December 1803. (26) On 25 January he was known to be ‘extremely desirous of proceeding to Ceylon and other parts of India which have hitherto been but little visited of artists’ (27) Whilst in China William made several drawings and wrote to Sir Joseph Banks on 31st January 1804 laying out ‘the principal reasons that have induced me to take India in my route home.’ William was ‘sorry to say the voyage to New Holland’ had not answered his expectations ‘in any one way; for though I did not expect there was so much to be got in New Holland, I should have been fully recompensed for being so long on that barren coast by the richness of the South Seas Islands which, on leaving England, I had reason to suppose we should have wintered at, instead of Port Jackson. I was not aware the voyage was confined to New Holland only; had I known this, I most certainly would not have engaged in a hazardous voyage where I could have little opportunity of employing my pencil with any advantage to myself or my employers’. William further attempted to justify his decision by mentioning that he was accepting the advice of a Mr Lance who said ‘that as I had so few sketches of New Holland there could be no necessity for my returning immediately to England.’ (28) It should be explained that David Lance was a member of the Select Committee in Canton, an official of the East India Company and Banks’ man in China. He appears to have had considerable influence there.

The Memorandum of Agreement signed by all scientific staff who sailed on the Investigator described the purpose of the voyage as ‘exploring the Country of New Holland’. (29) The knowledge of ‘New Holland’ at that time was slight. When Thomas Daniell went to tea with Joseph Farington on 28 March, 1800 he mentioned ‘his nephew [was] going with Captn Flinders, to explore and make out the boundaries of New Holland, abt which there are some doubts, that is whether a Meditteranean Sea (italics in original) does not pass between those parts which have been supposed to form one Island. They are also to visit some Islands situated further out than those of Otaheite.’ (30) On 30 December 1800 Farington reports that ‘Robt Smirke has recd an acct from London that an offer was made last Wednesday, to Wm Daniell to go on a voyage of Discovery to the South Seas, and that on Thursday he accepted the offer.’ (31)

Subsequently, as we have already recorded, William Westall replaced William Daniell as landscape artist on the Investigator. As a schoolboy William Westall is said to have met William Hodges, a friend of Richard Westall’s. Rex Reinits declares that ‘it seems probable [that] his (William Westall’s) own determination to travel sprang from listening to the stories this much travelled artist would have had to tell.’ (32)

William has been severely criticised for his letter to Banks from China. The gentlest admonition is that he was imprudent. Barton suggests that William ‘was nothing more than a commercial gentleman’ (33) William’s description of the ‘barren coast’ of Australia is contradicted by his finished oil paintings of the country although at that stage the influence of his brother and the expectations of the Royal Academy may well have compromised his recollections. (34)

William’s voyage from China to India beginning in February, 1804 on the merchantman Carron , gave the young artist another notable naval experience. The merchantman was placed under the command of Captain Nathaniel Dance, who was preparing to engage with French warships. On the afternoon of 15th February 1804 in the Strait of Malacca a conflict took place between the British convoy and a small French squadron commanded by Rear-Admiral Linois. Dance’s bold strategy of bluff resulted in the French deciding a conflict would not be advisable and their fleet rapidly left the area. The episode was described as a Battle off Pulo Auro, a name later changed by the Admiralty to Pulau Aur (Pulau being the Malayan for island). In the Naval Chronicle (35) a statement on the episode appeared as issued by the Admiralty, concerning a message transmitted by Dance from the Earl of Camden (6th August 1804). He mentions the ships put under his orders as senior commander including the Cumberland (on which Flinders was travelling, which makes it all the more surprising that he went on to French-held Mauritius) and those put under his charge, which included the Carron. The Rolla is also mentioned as ‘the Botany Bay Ship’. Robert Westall in his 1850 manuscript memoir on the life of his father records that William ‘witnessed the renowned action in the Straits of Malacca, where Admiral Linois (was) beaten off by a fleet of British merchantmen commanded by Sir Nathaniel Dance’. (36)

Whilst off the coast of the Malaysia Peninsular William painted a watercolour of what has been described as ‘one of the earliest extant views of Prince of Wales Island (Penang) ’ (37) William then arranged for Lieutenant Fowler, who had distinguished himself during Dance’s confrontation with Linois, to take his drawings of Australia to England. William reached Bombay on 30 April where he was the first to disprove the report by Captain Palmer that all those aboard the Rolla and Cato had perished at sea. After spending some three months in Western India (38) Willaim left for England in mid August and was back in England in February, 1805. (39)

When Fowler had returned to England he delivered William’s drawings to the Admiralty and discussed their state with Banks. On 22 August Sir Joseph wrote to William Marsden at the Admiralty: ‘I have been informed by Lieut Fowler that the Drawings of Mr Westhall (sic) the artist employed on board the Investigator which the Lieut delivered to you on his Return are by no means in a secure state they having been damaged by water at the time the Porpoise was lost on Wreck Reef & not yet sufficiently freed from the effects of salt water. His Elder Brother Mr Westhall Royal academician wishes much to be allowed to examine them & put them in a secure state which he thinks he can do.’ (40)

Banks undertook to be responsible for the receipt of the drawings and their transmission to Richard Westall. This action was approved. Banks commented to botanist Robert Brown, who had also travelled on the Investigator, that there were ‘several sketches, some of them interesting’ among William’s portfolio. (41) The extent of any damage cannot be ascertained nor is the work Richard Westall did with respect to the drawings known. (42) On 31 August Banks advised the Admiralty that they were ‘now in a situation to be preserved if kept in a dry place’. (43)

Banks then succeeded in persuading the Admiralty to have William’s salary for the expedition paid (44) after reminding the Admiralty, who had originally refused to pay the salaries of William and the miner John Allen (arguing that they had not produced a certificate signed by Flinders but only one from Lt. Fowler) that Flinders was a prisoner on Mauritus continuing that ‘from everything I have been able to learn by Correspondence with Capt. Flinders, & other persons on board, all these persons conducted themselves with great propriety both to their Commander & to each other, & were diligent in the extreme, in their respective Departments’.(45)

As soon as William returned to England he visited Banks and asked whether he could help him with respect to his Australian work, since with Flinders imprisoned William could not complete the work on illustrating the voyage. (46) This was a request beyond the original contract but on 21 February but Banks wrote to the Admiralty asking if he could be entrusted ‘with the care of Mr Westall’s Scetches (and) to give him (Westall) such indulgencies as I may think may be done without injuring their Lordships interest & that of the Public’. (47) This request was approved, although William himself was advised by Under-Secretary Marsden that he could only use one sketch ‘for the purpose of painting a picture for the coming exhibition.’ (48)

William then set out on his travels again, visiting Madeira once more and Jamaica. On his return he negotiated further with the Admiralty over his drawings, with the aid of Banks. However it was not until the return of Flinders from captivity in October 1810 that any real progress was made. Flinders was to prepare an account of his voyage and in January 1811 Banks was requested to take charge of the ‘Sketches, Charts, journals and the manuscripts now in the Admiralty’. (49) Then he was to submit a list of subjects for embellishment. Flinders discussed the selection of drawings with William and 28 coastal views were chosen. (50) William then painted these as watercolours which became the basis for the engravings in the Atlas to Flinders’ two volume Voyage to Terra Australis . Banks’ request to the Admiralty for 30 guineas to be paid for them was met and several further plates were prepared concerning the voyage. Banks assisted with engaging engravers and 9 engravings were produced. The task of engraving appears to have been supervised by William, who wrote to the Admiralty secretary John Crocker on 26 March, 1812 that ‘the Pictures which have been engraved are not yet ready to send in to the Admiralty as one of them is very much injured’. Crocker is further informed that ‘Mr W. is at present very much occupied in the preparing for the approaching Exhibition, in a month Mr W will take care that they shall be sent’. (51) The paintings of Port Bowen and Sir Edward Pellew’s Group, were exhibited at the Royal Academy, resulting in William’s election to become an Associate of the Royal Academy. In total ten oil paintings were completed for the Admiralty. At one stage Banks wrote to Croker recommending a view of the Murray Islands declaring that ‘in my judgement (it) does great credit to his (Westall’s) pencil.’ (52) In 1814 Flinders’ two volume Voyage to Terra Australis was published with the nine Westall illustrations engraved, together with the 28 coastal views in the Atlas. The main nine engravings were issued separately. (53)

Between 1806 and 1816 William’s illustrations of his world journeys were published as engraved vignettes in The Naval Chronicle which was published between 1799 and 1818 in 40 volumes. Richard Westall’s frontispiece to volumes 1 – 6 was an engraving of Britannia and William’s contributions were in volumes 16, 20 (2) 21, 22 (2), 26, 28 and 31. Original spelling is used. Dates given after the engravings are date of publication. My comments are in [brackets].
1 View looking up Coupang River, Island of Timor engraved S. Medland 30 August 1806 – from a drawing by Mr William Westall, brother of the Academician, ‘Mr Westall is at present resident in the island of Madeira.’ [NMM have an aquatint of this view]
2 Malay Prows, and a View of the South side of Coupang Bay, Island of Timor engraved Bennett 31 August 1808, ‘these proas are very fast sailers’.
3 View of the East of Madeira, engraved by Bennett Oct 31, 1808 drawn 1807, ‘a drawing by that rising young artist, Mr William Westall’. [A coloured aquatint of this view is known and the NMM have ‘Unidentified Native Craft’ dated 31 Aug 1808 engraved by William James Bennet as as aquatint & etching]
4 Bombay Castle, engraved Baily April 29, 1809, ‘an accurate representation’. [NMM have a print published by Smith, Elder & co of Westall’s ‘North West View of the Fort of Bombay’ engraved by R.G. Reeve]
5 Government House, Funchall, Madeira, engraved Baily, 30th September, 1809, Drawn 1807. ‘The town residence of the Governor of Madeira.’
6 Port Jackson, New South Wales, engraved Baily, Nov 30th 1809. ‘The annexed view, by Mr Westall, was taken from Garden Island. The ships appear off the entrance of Sidney Cove, the chief settlement.’ [Photo of original in my blog]
7 View on Canton River, China, engraved Baily, 31 August 1811. ‘Taken about thirty miles from Canton’ [The original of this attractive picture is in the National Maritime Museum].
8 Mosk in Panwell river Dekhan, India, engraved Baily, Nov 30, 1812. ‘About twelve miles from the sea.’ [This plate is erroneously said to be of China in the introduction to the Plates]
9 Fort Cornwallis – Prince of Wales Island, engraved Baily, 30 Jan 1813. ‘In the Strait, near the coast of Malacca.’ [Original in the India Office].
10 Panwell River, Dekkan, India, engraved Baily 31 December 1816.
* The NMM have an engraving executed by W.Westall A.R.A. and published by Richard Bentley in 1836 of ‘Sir James Saumarez in the Crescent and Capt Ellison in the Druid engaging a French Squadron of superior force, to cover the escape of the Eurydice, Capt. Cole, June 8th 1794.’ This engraving was probably from a drawing by a seaman who witnessed the event.
See Huw Lewis-Jones ‘Nelson and the Bear: The Making of an Arctic Myth’ Trafalgar Chronicle 15 (2005) pp 82-119 and Richard J. Westall ‘‘The Story is Admirably Told’ The Nelson Pictures’ pp171-179 Trafalgar Chronicle 16 (2006) & Plate 5.
VI (1925, 431). This portrait is illustrated in Trafalgar Chronicle 16 p 171
Ed. T.M. Perry & D.Simpson Royal Commonwealth Society 1962 p 33.
4. Ernestine Hill My Love Must Wait: The Story of Matthew Flinders (Angus & Robertson) 1941 p215
5. Letter from Richard Walker to the author15 September 1981
6. Loan Collection Kensington 1865, listed in Appendix C of Foster’s ‘British Miniature Painters’
7. Ed K.Garlick & A. Macintyre Diaries of Joseph Farington R.A. (New Haven: Yale University Press 1979) vi, 1562
8. Rex & Thea Reinits Early Artists in Australia (Angus & Robertson) p 87. Rex Reinits wrote the chapter on Westall pp80 - 123
10. See K.A. Austin ‘Voyage of the Investigator’ (Angus & Robertson 1963). Flinders to his wife.
11. For further information on Richard Westall’s life see Richard J. Westall ‘The Westall Brothers’, Turner Studies, 4:1 (1984), pp23-38, his entry in the

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (on line), the website and the blog .

12. A. Pasquin A Liberal Critique on the Exhibition for 1794 at the Royal Academy pp24/25

13. H.B. Carter Transcript (kindly sent to the author) HRNSW, iv: 348

14. Ibid PRO Adm 1/4377

15. M. Flinders A Voyage to Terra Australis 2 Vols and atlas (London : G & W. Nicol, 1814) ii p275

Ibid Opening paragraph i

N.T. Geeson and R.T. Sexton ‘HM Sloop Investigator’ Mariner’s Mirror 56, 3 August 1970. I am grateful to Matthew G. Little for providing me with this


18. Ann Flinders Petrie – letter This England Winter 1982

19. Reinits p. 107

20 J. Clarke ‘Naufragia or Historical Memoirs of Shipwrecks’ 2 vols London (1805) p.386

21. Flinders ii p305

22. S.Bakewell TheEnglish Dane (Chatto & Windus) 2005. There is an illustration of the scene of the Wreck (plate 4) but

there is no comparison with William’s eye witness drawings.

23. Flinders ii p 309

24. Ibid ii p 315

25. Ibid ii p 323

26. Sir William Foster ‘British Artists in India 1760 – 1820’ Walpole Society 1930/1

27. The China Records of the India Office 145 p. 153

28. The text of this letter is in G.B. Barton History of New South Wales (Charles Potter) plxxii

29. Carter Transcript PRO Adm 1/4379

30. Farington vi p.1528. Otaheite was regarded as the South Seas towards Hawaii.

31. Ibid iv p. 1475

32. Reinits p.82

33. Barton p.lxxii et seq

34. J.Auerbach ‘The picturesque and the homogenisation of Empire’ British Art Journal (London) v 1 Spring/Summer 2004

35. Naval Chronicle 1804 xxii 1804 p. 137

36. For a full description see Colonel R. St J. Gillespie ‘Sir Nathaniel Dance’s Battle off Pulo Auro’ Mariner’s Mirror, 21 (1935) 163-186. I am grateful to

Matthew G. Little for this material.

37 M. Archer & J. Baskin ‘The Raffles Drawings in the India Office Library’ (1978) no 5. On the back of this watercolour is written ‘Drawn & finished while

in a vessel(sic) off the Island in 1804’.

38 See Richard J. Westall ‘William Westall in India’ Marg, Mumbai xlvii 4 June 1996 pp 94/6 and Richard J. Westall ‘William Westall in India’ Journal of

The Families in British India Society 13 Spring 2005 pp2-5 and cover.

39 Farington vii p25520 (ed K. Cave 1982) : 19 Feb 1805 ‘Westall called and spoke abt His brother having returned from India’.

40 See ‘New Light on Westall’ Library Notes new series 103 July 1965. The author is likely to have been Donald Simpson. (ref ADM 1/4378, no27)

41 Ibid Admiralty to Banks Hist Rec NSW v 455.

42 Westall’s Drawings p 17 for a discussion of the possible damage to William’s drawings during the voyage.

43 ‘New Light on Westall’ ADM 1/4378 no 28

44 Ibid Sept 8 1805 Banks to Admiralty ADM 1/4378, no 29

45 Ibid Hist. Red NSW iv 350 – 351

46 Ibid Hist Rec NSW v 558

47 Ibid Banks to Admiralty ADM 1/4379 no 63

48 Ibid Marsden to Westall Hist Rec NSW v 564

49 Ibid 29 May Banks to Croker ADM 1/4382

50 Reinits 118 referring to Flinders Papers in Melbourne Public Library

51 New Light Banks to Croker ADM 1/4382 no 1594

52 William Westall to Croker 26 March 1812. Author’s collection. This appears to question the view expressed by Reinits that Banks was in charge of the

engraving procedure.

53 New Light 20 Nov 1812 ADM 1/4382 no 1095

54 See Richard J. Westall ‘William Westall: A Catalogue of His Book Illustration’ Antiquarian Book Monthly Review v. xiii 12 issue 152


William Westall by Robert Westall

Sketch of the Life of the late William Westall A.R.A (by) Robert Westall Feby 1850.

The original Manuscript (Ms) is reproduced in standard type. Rex Reinits completed a typed transcript of the Ms. He adds and also excludes some material as indicated. The National Library of Australia has the Reinits transcript.
Additional material was added in the published article in the ‘Art Journal’, edited by George Virtue, April 1850 pp 94/95. These words are in italics. Words were also excluded from the original by the ‘Art Journal’ and are in brackets( ). Other matters are indicated in bold type between brackets < >. In addition Robert Westall himself crosses out passages as indicated by underling. The ‘Art Journal’ includes a comment by John Landseer A.R.A., father of Sir Edwin Landseer, who comments : The following memoir of this accomplished artist has been drawn up by his son Mr Robert Westall, who is himself a student of the Arts.

Robert Westall starts the memoir with confidence but he soon begins to falter. The writing is haphazard and includes words on the back of pages. There are a few muddled sections, some unreadable, which must have presented problems for the editor of the ‘Art Journal’. No doubt Robert, distressed by his father’s death, and trying to meet a deadline had a sympathetic editor to assist him.

As a primary source on William Westall’s life it provides much useful information and close study is justified. I have sought to avoid error but cannot be certain I have succeeded

Richard J. Westall

William Westall (Esq) A.R.A. was born at Hertford, October 12, 1781, and died in London Jany 22nd 1850, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. His parents were of Norwich families, but after residing in that city for several years, they removed for some time to Hertford, and finally came to London and its vicinity, Sydenham and Hampstead,where (he resided during his youth) his earlier years were passed.

Like most of those who have attained to professional honours, He he displayed a great passion for drawing when very young, having frequently related that he used to run away from school for the purpose of making sketches from nature. His (youthful) early studies were pursued under the care of his elder brother, the late Richard Westall (Esq) R.A., then at the height of his fame.

Mr W. Westall’s professional (career) engagements commenced early in life, and (from) under the following circumstances. The late William Daniell R.A., who had previously been in India, received the appointment of landscape draughtsman (to), on a voyage of discovery then about to proceed to Australia in (1801) , under Captain Flinders in H.M.S. Investigator. From this appointment Mr Daniell eventually withdrew in consequence of an engagement with Mr Westall’s oldest sister (, Mary,) who he afterwards married. On receiving an intimation of his withdrawl, the
Government applied to the President of the Royal Academy to recommend one of their students. Westall had entered as a probationer in the schools of the Royal Academy, but had not become a qualified student, when he was recommended to the Government by (Mr) the President West, <’Art Journal’ has brackets around West>, who had (been struck by) noticed his remarkable talent and aptitude (and he at once received his) for the appointment which he at once received, (al)though not nineteen years of age. (The objects of this voyage were the survey of the southern coast and the discovery of the then unknown position, now called South Australia and the exploration of the Gulf of Carpentaria and the North and N.Eastern and Western coasts of that continent) were the discovery of the then unknown country of the continents of Australia. Sent to examine the coasts of New Holland.

(Although one of the youngest persons in the vessel and very youthful in appearance from his fair and ruddy complexion, yet Mr W proved to have as great powers of endurance) enduring the intense heat of the various tropical climates which he visited particularly the Gulf of Carpentaria, the survey of which was found the most trying part of the voyage as most of his shipmates.

One of the most remarkable proofs of young Westall’s powers of enduring fatigue and of his enthusiasm for his art, was shewn (sic) in an expedition to the summit of a mountain near Port Bowen on the N. Eastern coast of Australia. Captn Flinders proposed that a large party should set off and whoever first reached the summit should have the honour of its being named after him. Mr W. was the first who gained the summit, though Captn Flinders soon followed, but so exhausted with fatigue that he threw himself on to the ground and fell into a deep sleep from which he was not aroused for several hours. In the mean time, struck with astonishment at the magnificent prospect which lay beneath him, comprising Broad Sound and Shoalwater Bay, with an horizon of sea, extending beyond the most distant of the Northumberland Isles which lay northwards, Mr Westall, notwithstanding his fatiguing climb commenced sketching and was engaged for three hours in depicting the splendid panorama at the end of which time, the grateful scent arising from the boiling pot, the rest of the far-lagging party having joined them, somewhat checked his enthusiasm. But the sketch produced was one of the most elaborate and was said by Flinders to comprise one of the most important discoveries made in the course of the voyage. The mountain was subsequently named after Mr Westall and a picture is now in the possession of the Admiralty, of this subject.The sketch produced was one of the most elaborate which he made in the course of the voyage. The subject of this sketch The subject was is embodied in a picture now in the possession of the Admiralty.)

After (their being arduously engaged for nearly two years) the expedition had been arduously employed for nearly two years, the Investigator was condemned as (unseaworthy), not sea-worthy, and was left at Port Jackson, while Mr Westall and most of his fellow-voyagers were shipped on board HMS Porpoise, under the command of their late First Lieutenant, Fowler, for the purpose of returning to England. (But) wWhile (endeavouring to find a passage through the Great Barrier Reef,)<> on the N.Eastern coast of Australia) making their way towards Torres Straits accompanied by two Indiamen they had the misfortune to be shipwrecked on a (small) coral reef considerably to the Eastward of the Great Barrier Reef , on the north eastern coast of Australia, (which catastrophe was also shared by an accompanying vessel the Cato) their companion, the Cato. Happily the ship’s companies were saved and also the provisions and stores of the Porpoise, with most of Mr Westall’s valuable collection of sketches and drawings (though many of them were sadly mutilated. As young Franklin and his fellow midshipmen, wishing to enliven the dull monotony of their time after the wreck, amused themselves by driving the remnant of the live stock over the sketches whilst spread out on the sand for the purpose of being dried.)

And After a residence of eight weeks upon a small coral reef bank having been basely/hastily deserted and left to their fate without any offer of assistance by the Commander of the accompanying vessel, Bridgewater a vessel sailing in their company. They were (rescued) taken off by some vessels sent from Port Jackson, (to which port) Captain Flinders (having) had courageously returned (to the colony) in an open boat, a distance of 250 leagues.

(A remarkable instance (occurred on the reef) of an act of dishonesty committed at a time of great anxiety and danger, with many chances of discovery; a great uncertainty of ever having the power to gain any benefit from it, or and but a (in pencil) at least a very distant prospect and but a distant prospect of realizing pecuniary advantage from the commission of the act. A few days after their ship-wreck Mr W missed a silver pallet which he had gained when sixteen years of age a few years previously, in competition for drawing, at the Society of Arts. And as he did not again find that it, (again in pencil), he imagined that it had slipped from his pocket whilst asleep on the sand, and afterwards washed away or buried in the tide.

A few years after his return to England a pawnbroker called at his residence with the long lost relic, which came into his possession a short time previously through the medium of a man in the dress of a Marine, of whom he had purchased it. a man in a Marine’s dress had sold to him a short time previously. Struck by the coincidence of the well known name and aware that Mr Westall had travelled he concluded that he must Mr W might have been its former possessor, honourably restored it to its rightful owner.

A marine or some other of the shipwrecked people had evidently stolen or picked up the medal and notwithstanding the awful uncertainty of their position, had the temerity to keep it in contemplation of future gain.

The vessel(s) which rescued (them from their dreary situation), a part of the shipwrecked crew from their dreary situation, (were) was the Cumberland schooner, of twenty-nine tons burden. (In this cockleshell of a boat Flinders, spurred by his anxiety to return to England (for the purpose of obtaining a proper vessel in which to continue on the survey with his usual daring, determined to attempt the homeward voyage, as no other vessel could at that/this time could be spared from the infant colony.) There was also another small schooner, at the service of any of the party who wished to return to Port Jackson. And the ship Rolla, fortunately bound to China, the commander of which vessel agreed to take off any who were willing to join him (was very eager then to take the Party off the Reef) The ship Rolla, bound for China, took the rest of the party off the reef.

{On leaving the reef} Mr Westall went in the Rolla to China and enriched his folio with many sketches of that interesting country. While in China he fortunately obtained permission to go up the river above Canton, with an expedition of scientific gentlemen. On one occasion whilst sketching in an (Island) island garden a Mandarin barge landed a party of native ladies and gentlemen or rank. They went to an open summer house, and learning that a foreigner was in the grounds desired him to be sent for. When introduced to the party he was looked upon with great curiosity,
the ladies, in particular, minutely examining his attire and laughed heartily at its novelty, especially his tail coat which attracted more than ordinary interest.

Although, at the time, he felt abashed at being thus (displayed) “exhibited”, yet the scene made a lasting impression on his mind; and, on retiring (while the party refreshed themselves with music and singing) he made a sketch of the subject before him. The extreme beauty and delicacy of the females and the richness of their costumes, combined with a charming peep of the Canton river and the magnificent exotic trees and plants of the garden, - conspicuous amongst them, the feathery bamboo and the (ariel) lofty palm garlanded with a wild underwood(s) of the richest fruits and flowers – formed a composition which could scarcely be exceeded in loveliness. (On) Of this (subject) incident he afterwards painted a large picture which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1814 and within the last few years hung in the Exhibition Rooms of the Pantheon – a smaller duplicate was in the possession of the late Mr Loddiges of Hackney.

After a residence of some months in Canton Mr Westall secured a passage to India in one of the China fleet and witnessed the renowned action in the Straits of Malacca, where Admiral Linois and (all his force were beaten off) the whole of his force was beaten off by a fleet of British merchantmen,(commanded by Sir Nathaniel Dance). Mr Westall’s love of variety determined him, on his arrival at Bombay, to undertake a journey into the neighbouring mountains of (the) Mahratta country(.) , (F)for which purpose he obtained a passport from (his Grace the Duke of Wellington) Sir Arthur Wellesley now the Duke of Wellington, (then Sir Arthur Wellesley) Commander of the Indian Forces(.) at that time. (While) Whilst among the magnificent mountains of the Boa Ghaut, he met the Indian army, soon after the battle of Assaye and received a kind (and urgent) invitation from Sir Arthur Wellesley to accompany the army to (Seringpatan) Seringatan , which advantageous offer he declined, (feeling a great anxiety to return to his native land) which advantageous offer he declined, to his deep regret in after life; feeling, at the time, a great anxiety to return to his native land, more especially as a report had been spread by the Capt(n)ain of the Bridgewater (in India) that the whole of the ships’ companies
Of the Porpoise and Cato (had been) were lost. Mr W(estall) was the first person to contradict the report at Bombay.

During his expedition into the interior (Mr W beheld) he witnessed the most frightful ravages caused by a famine and drought(.) ; (H)he was always much affected when alluding, in after life, to the horrors he here beheld. The perishing natives poured from the Upper countr(ies)y , (towards the metropolis) and lay along the roads perishing by thousands, the living, dying and (the) dead intermingled in aw(e)ful companionship.The dogs were frequently disturbed from the half devoured remains of their late masters. On more than one occasion when the gasping sufferers held out their trembling hands, for a draught of water(,) to assuage their agony they grasped the proffered cup with a dying avidity, and drain(ed)ing it to the last drop (and) instantly expired, their famine struck features brighten(ed)ing with a gleam of delight.

When in the mountains, he came upon a family of natives, reduced to the last stage of destitution, consisting of a man, his wife, and his only remaining son, several (other) children having perished. With the hopes of saving their own and their son’s life they offered him (as a slave) to Mr Westall’s chief servant and an agreement was ratified, the principal articles of the bargain consisting of the rare happiness of a substantial meal and a few pounds of rice. (The half famished youth rapidly improved in appearance from the good fare he enjoyed and returned Mr W’s kindness with every symptom of gratitude.)

On their return to the coast, opposite Bombay Island(s) the baggage and servants were sent on board a vessel to be taken to the (T)town, Mr Westall and the new slave alone remaining ashore. Before stepping into the boat he put a previously formed project into effect – drew some money from his pocket and putting it into the young man’s hand, pointed to his native mountains. The language of nature was sufficient (-) , with tears of joy and a look of astonishment and deep gratitude, the youth threw himself on the ground and kissed his benefactor’s feet; then with the swiftness of a deer, darted towards his home and was out of sight in a few minutes. In the mean time his purchaser, standing on the deck of the vessel, looked at the scene with (horror) dismay, unable to interfere, contemplating the serious loss he had sustained, of (an able slave, who would have made a good bargain) a fine young man whose value would have been justly appreciated in the slave market.; (B)but soon consoled himself with the prospect of making up the deficiency by the more ordinary mode of fleecing his master(’s pocket).

(In the years 1817 & 24 he exhibited two subjects of the Mahratta mountains, with the Indian army winding down the extraordinary passes.)

(After a short sojourning amongst the mountains, and witnessing the frightful ravages made in the country by a dreadful famine and drought – over this section is written in pencil See Note, this is the much expanded account above)
After visiting and making elaborate drawings of the wonderful excavated temples of Kurlee and Elephanta, and of other interesting objects
Soon after his return (to England) finding (that) his services were not immediately required in the publication of (Flinders’ voyage) the late voyage he revisited Madeira, at which (I)island the Investigator had made a stay of three days on the outward voyage. On this occasion , the latter occasion the scientific gentlemen made an expedition towards Pico Ruivo, (the loftiest peak of this mountainous island) into the interior(.) and young (Young) Westall, by the most indefatigable exertions, produced a number of sketches of the enchanting scenery; but on their leaving the island, the native boat they had hired to take to the vessel (,) was upset in the surf (as they always supposed suspected) purposely, by the boatmen, and in consequence Westall was nearly drowned.

The fatigue and exposure of the (journey) voyage,
combined with the effects of the accident and his distress and anxiety at losing the fruits of so much toil, brought on a (C)coup de (S)soliel which nearly terminated his existence. But the picturesque beauty of the (I)island had so enchanted him that he resolved his first days of independ(a)ence should be spent there(.) ; (A)and (rarely is it that as youthful resolution is so entirely fulfilled.) in accordance with this determination,(H)he obtained a passage to Madeira in the summer of 1805, and carried his early (determination) resolution into (complete fruition) effect.

He was treated with great kindness by the residents, particularly (Joseph) Mr Pringle (Esq), the Consul, (and Mr and Mrs Lynch,) Lady Georgeiana and Mr Eliot, afterwards Earl St Jermaine, and their family. While making those selections of (the) scenery which he especially loved, he executed, in the way of business and profit, drawings and paintings of the (Q)quintas/(residences) villas, of the planters and merchants [,] ; and with the money so obtained he went to the West India Islands.
He always spoke of his residence in Madeira as one of the most delightful periods of his life.

During a (residence) stay of a few months in Jamaica Mr Westall added innumerable (subjects) drawings of this interesting island to his large collection of sketches of foreign scenery.

After his return (from Jamaica Mr Westall) to England he painted (subjects of) various pictures of foreign scenery; and in 1808, having accumulated a considerable number of water-colour drawings of views in China, India, India and Madeira, he opened an exhibition in Brook Street, (which) but it did not (answer) realise his expectations.

In 1810, Captain Flinders arrived in England, having been released from his long and cruel confinement in the (Island) Isle of Mauritius, where he was detained, on his putting into Port Louis in his little vessel, (while) on his way (to England after leaving the reef.) home from Wreck Reef. The publication of the voyage necessarily delayed until this period, was now proceeded with, and Mr Westall was for a considerable time engaged in preparing his sketches and drawings for engravings; - and also in painting pictures, by command of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, of the most important discoveries and incidents connected with the voyage. These were A View of King George Sound, [A note indicates that these compromised: King George Sound] Port Lincoln, Port Jackson, Port Bowen, on the (N)north-(E)astern (coast and a view from the summit of Mount Westall) two views in the Gulf of Carpentaria; a scene in Kangaroo Island, and a view from the summit of Mount Westall. (In Kangaroo Islands, and the Gulf of Carpentaria.) [It adds that] T [t]he view(s) of Port[ort] Bowen and of the Seaforth’s Isles, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, were exhibited (Several of these pictures were exhibited in the old rooms of the Royal Academy at Somerset House) in 1812 at the Royal Academy
And attracted great attention from their novelty. They were all views of places for the most part the first time visited by Europeans. In the foregrounds were displayed the magnificent and georgeous foliage and flora of (these tropical climates,) this country,
(their character) painted with (botanical precision and correctness of nature,) great attention to their botanical character. (and with a brilliancy of colouring scarcely ever before seen.)

On his final settlement in England he was employed by many publishers – (among the rest in – by Ackermann) in illustrating their works, amongst the rest by Ackermann, in 1813, who was getting up (an) embellished edition(s) of the History of the Two Universities, and (the) other public schools. In (these) this commission he was united with (Mr) Messrs. Uwins, (Mr) F. Mcackenkie, (Mr) F. Nash and Augustus Pugin.

In 1811 Mr Westall paid his first visit to the Lake country, and stopped on his way to make a sketch of Sedbergh for Prof Inman (with whom he became acquainted at Port Jackson, Prof I having gone out as astronomer to Flinders voyage but only in place of Mr Croxley, who left the expedition at the Cape in consequence of ill health. Pro I arrived at Port Jackson just before the Investigator was condemned and did not join the expedition) <> whom he knew at Port Jackson, and was fellow passenger with whom he was a fellow passenger in the Rolla to China. Professor
Had gone out as an astronomer to Flinders’ (voyage) expedition, but only arrived at Port Jackson just before the voyage was abandoned. From (Prof Inman) him (he) Mr Westall received a letter of introduction to the Rev William Stevens, Master of the Grammar School at Sedbergh, with whom and his family, he was afterwards united in closest friendship.

Mr Westall was so much charmed with the beauty of the (N)northern scenery that he resided at Keswick or (the) its neighbourhood, during part of every (winter) year, until(l) 1820, (when he married); he (and) afterwards frequently visited (it.) the Lake country.

While at Keswick he first became acquainted with (the late Robert ) Southey (Esq and the present Poet Laureate, W.) and Wordsworth, (Esq of Rydal Mount) and a friendship was cemented between them which only ceased with death which ended in an enduring friendship.

An accidental circumstance first introduced Mr Westall to the late Sir George and Lady Beaumont. ; (T)the latter, when going to replenish her stock of pencils at Mr Airey’s of Keswick, happened to see an unfinished (painting) picture of Indian scenery and on (e)inquiring the name of the artist who lodged at the house, immediately sent Mr Westall an invitation to dinner. Sir George Beaumont’s well known love of landscape painting led him to cultivate an intimacy, whichresulted in Mr Westall’s spending the greater part of two winters (1813 & 1814) at his seat, Coleorton in Leicestershire.

In 1812 (he) Mr Westall was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy, having (for several years) long previously been a (M)member of the Wateer Colour Society.

(In 1815) After having resided for some years at Dulwich, (Mr W) he paid a visit, in 1815, to Mr Stevens, at Sedbergh, where he became acquainted with Mr Stevens’ beloved and venerable friend, the Rev Richard Sedgwick (of Dent,) whose youngest daughter became (his wife) the wife of Mr Westall in 1820.

In 1816 he engraved, in aquatint, a work of the (celebrated) noted caves in Chaple le Dale, near Ingleborough; Yordas Cave , and Gordale Scar, near Malham, in Yorkshire. The following year,in company with Mr Mackenzie, he made a series of Rivaulx, Byland, and various other (A)abbeys and celebrated edifices in the (N)north of England, some of which were introduced by Dr Whitaker in History of Yorkshire. About this time he put a long-formed project (resolution) into effect, of engraving in aquatint a series of the Lake country, which he continued to increase in number for many (successive) years.

In 1832, (W)when on avisit to his brother-in-law,the Rev James Sedgwick, at the Isle of Wight he commenced his work of that island.

The number and works he had undertaken occupied so much time that from this period he had little leisure for contributing to the exhibition(s) of the Royal Academy. During (a lapse of) several years the only picture he exhibited was a view of, Norwich painted (in 1840), for his brother-in-law, the Rev Professor Adam Sedgwick.

His publications were afterwards increased by the addition of two several works (namely); Ragland Castle in 1842 in Monmouthshire; Kirkstall Abbey, near Leeds; Fountains Abbey (and Studley Park commenced in) Studley Park etc.

It is singular that (though so great a traveller yet)
Mr Westall, although so great a traveller should never have landed on the Continent of Europe until the (Spring of 1847, when he took a trip to Paris, with which city and its environs he was (much pleased) as may well be imagined, much delighted.

(Although blessed in early youth with a strong and vigorous constitution his health was for many years much broken a premature old age was brought on by his exposure and sufferings when abroad. In the autumn of 1847 he met with a very severe accident from the violent serious effects of which he never fully recovered his strength)

A few years after his marriage he purchased a residence at St Johns Wood, where he lived resided until his death (the remainder of his life. (T)the latter part of his life was spent) with the exception an (interruption) intermission of seven years, having removed there (to the southern side of London) for the convenience of a son who was a pupil with Sir John and Mr George Rennie (Esqrs), the (Engineers) celebrated engineers; he had only returned to his favourite (spot) home about a year and a half (at his decease). Although blessed in early youth with a strong constitution, a premature old age was brought on by his exposure and sufferings when abroad.

In the autumn of 1847 Mr Westall met with a very severe accident, not only breaking his left arm, but receiving serious internal injuries. From the effects of this he never recovered; and during the last winter, a succession of severe colds terminated in a bronchial attack, accompanied by dropsy, which carried him off after a few weeks of suffering. Besides the pictures already mentioned, Mr Westall painted few others of any consequence; for finding that his efforts were not appreciated by the public, he sacrificed his name and fame to the duty of providing for the welfare of his family. Therefore he has often been heard to say, “he was reduced to the necessity of giving up his early hopes of fame, for a trade,” as he termed his engravings and publications.

The result of this He found On finding that his efforts were not appreciated by the public, and sacrifice(ing)(ed) his name and fame to the duty of providing for the welfare of his family.

Therefore as he has been heard to say that he was reduced to the necessity of giving up his early hopes of fame for a trade as he termed his engravings and publications.

The principal works exhibited at the Royal Academy were the following –
1813 “A View of St Paul’s from Bankside,” also a “Sunrise,” with Bambro’ Castle.
1814 “Richmond – Yorkshire,” with the view of the Mandarin’s garden.
1815 Several Views of Cambridege.
1826 “A view of Cape Wilberforce,” in the Gulf of Carpentaria, with that singular phenomenon, a waterspout.
1827 “A view in the valley of St. Vincent – Madeira;” also several watercolour drawings, views in Jamaica (for the late Lord Sligo), China and India. In 1848, he exhibited his last great painting, “The Commencement of the Deluge”.

His last illness intercepted the progress of a painting of “Wreck-reef a few days after the loss of the Porpoise and Cato,” which he commenced a short timepreviously.

The following sketch of his character, as a painter, has been kindly furnished by Mr John Landseer, the engraver, A.R.A.

“The integrity and moral character of William Westall are unblemished; his manners were mild and unassuming, or as Goldsmith has it –
‘- gentle,complying,and bland;’
and his style as an artist partook of these elements, being chiefly remarkable for a combination of fidelity with amenity, and an entire absence of everything ostentatious, or too ambititious for the occasion. While his trees were characteristically varied (and his Australian and other exotic trees with a certain portion of botanical discrimination); and while his rocks and castles, and sacred caverns, were solemn and grand; his cottages were places of sheltered pastoral comfort. His colouring was chaste, and chiaroscuro harmonious – never flashing, or forced, or meretricious. The obtainment of fleeting popularity was quite out of his way: the artist was never obtruded before the demands of the subject; and hence Westall’s forte was rather landscape portraiture, than the treatment of ideal subjects; hence too, and from a corresponding want of critical discrimination on the part of the public, he was not, as a landscape painter – one, too, who had seen much more of the world than his academical brethren – duly appreciated, although justly valued by the judicious few. As instances may be mentioned, the apparent neglect of his Brook Street Exhibition, and the real neglect of rather a large picture from his hand, a grand mountain scene with a lofty waterfall; a “View among the Ghauts of Hindostan,”a picture possessing much of the charming grey aerial tone and just degraduation on which the early fame of Turner was founded: this picture long hung with far too little notice, against the walls of the Panteon exhibition room”

A bust of the late Mr Westall is now being executed by Mr E.J.Physick.