01 Marine Painting – John Allcot’s S.S. Dorrigo, with Footnotes, #370

John Allcot, (1888 – 1973)
S.S. Dorrigo, 1922

20 x 30.5 cm
Private collection

SS Dorrigo was a cargo and passenger steam ship. It was built under the name of Saint Francois by the Smiths Dock Company at the South Bank in Middlesbrough on the River Tees in Northeast England for the Compagnie Navale de l’Océanie for the Pacific Island postal and general trade service, for which it sailed the waters of the Pacific from 1914 to 1921. The ship suffered minor damage during the First World War during the Bombardment of Papeete, prior to coming into the hands of the Langley Bros who placed it in the Sydney to Coffs Harbour route from 1922 to 1925. Upon the demise of the Langley Bros shipping firm in 1925 the vessel came into the service of John Burke and Co and was used for the Northern Queensland runs prior to its loss on 4 April 1926. More on SS Dorrigo 

John Charles Allcot (1888-1973), artist, was born in Liverpool, England, son of George Allcot, mariner. Educated at Arnot Street Board School, at the age of 14 John was apprenticed to Tillotson & Son Ltd, lithographers, and attended classes at the Liverpool Institute and School of Art. In 1906 he worked in the Mersey tugboats and next year sailed as a deck-boy in the barque, Invermark. He loved painting and would scrounge ship’s paint, sailcloth and handkerchiefs with which to depict the sea, ships and life on board.  

Arriving in Sydney in 1909, Allcot signed on with the old clipper, Antiope. He worked in coastal, island and intercolonial vessels out of Sydney before giving up the sea in 1912. Supporting himself by painting theatre sets, he obtained commissions for ship paintings from Sydney photographers and toured the countryside, completing landscapes which he exhibited regularly with the Royal Art Society of New South Wales from 1920. About this time he formed an enduring friendship with Phyllis Zanker.

He gained widespread recognition in the 1920s with a series of oil paintings (on the founding of the Australian colonies) which were later acquired by the Australasian Pioneers’ Club. Other commissions followed. Allcot also worked as an illustrator and wrote articles about the sea for the Sydney Mail. In the 1940s he painted the seas for ship-models built by the sculptor Robert Klippel. Allcot’s painting of the Cutty Sark was presented to the Duke of Edinburgh in 1954.

Painting to tried and tested conventions, with impeccable attention to detail, Allcot used water-colour and gouache, and oils. His work was prolific and romantic. At a time of great change in the shipping industry, he specialized in nostalgic views of sailing ships and steamers, and found an appreciative market of ship-owners, captains, crews and their families. More on John Charles Allcot

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Author: Zaidan Art Blog

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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