Ship portraits




The ANMM ship portrait collection includes several hundreds of watercolours, oil paintings, and artworks of gouache, crayon, pencil and other mediums. It is representative of the work of Australian ship portraitists from the early nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century, with some European and North American portraits of vessels relevant to Australian history. Key strengths of the collection are works of several of the more prolific and accomplished ship portraitists such as Frederick Garling (1775 - 1848), G F Gregory (1815?-1887), Reginald Borstel (1875-1922), Haughton Forrest (1826 - 1925), and John Allcot (1888 - 1973).

Ship portraits are a specific genre of maritime art and are generally, broadside images of a single vessel, painted on commission or for sale. Modern ship portraiture began in the mid-1700s, often by cartographers. With the expansion of shipping around the globe and the demand by ship owners and captains for mementos of their vessels, it developed in the nineteenth century as a specialised art form. Even after the introduction of photography in the mid-nineteenth century, ship portraits remained popular as romantic and evocative representations of vessels. They were often the 'bread and butter' work of maritime artists. The ANMM ship portrait collection forms a visual record of the history of Australian shipping. It ranges from a 1780s painting of the First Fleet vessel BORROWDALE to contemporary artists work. It includes works by signficant Australian artists such as Frederick Garling and Haughton Forrest, and a good representation of work by less accomplished but prolific portraitists such as Reginald Borstel, the Gregory family and John Alcott.

Some material included in this collection may be subject to copyright

By appointment only, please contact ANMM

Parts of this collection are digitised and available on the ANMM website


1780-2010; Artists; Boats; Ships

Artworks; Oil paintings; Watercolour paintings

Frederick Garling; G F Gregory; Haughton Forrest; John Allcot; Reginald Borstel


Coverage Spatial

Australia; United Kingdom; United States

Coverage Temporal



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2012-05-30 23:40