The Greenland Whale Fishery.
Copper engraving, very scarce. Plate 260 x 375mm. 10¼ x 14¾". Large margins. Tearing and creasing in the margins. Crease through centre of image.
“Greenland whale fishery” came to refer to whaling in the waters between Spitsbergen and Greenland. Whaleships followed the northward summer migration of the bowhead, sailing first to Spitsbergen, then drifting west to the edge of the East Greenland ice pack. The season generally laster four to five months. The identity of the two British whaleships in Robert Dodd’s portrayal is unknown, but it is almost certain they were London-based vessels operating out of the Thames from where the largest British whaling fleet was based until well into the nineteenth century. By the mid-eighteenth century, the shortage of Arctic whales was already sending the whaling fleets as far away as Greenland. The Howland Great Wet Dock at Rotherhithe - built at the end of the seventeenth century - was, in 1763, renamed the Greenland Dock. In 1783, the year in which Dodd completed the painting from which this engraving is done the British whaling industry saw a marked revival after a wartime depression. The trade soon began to revive after the peace settlement with both France and the United States. An increase in the government whaling bounty was an added incentive to put more vessels into this extremely lucrative trade. This painting was engraved and published twice. The first occasion by John & Josiah Boydell of Cheapside in 1789 and again in 1795, by Fran. Ambrosi. Two separate printings would suggest a strong popular demand amongst whaling ship owners, masters and crews, for whom a generic image would perhaps be rather more attractive than one of vessels belonging to their rivals. See ref:20315 for the companion picture and information of the engraver.
Not in Parker.
[Ref: 20316] £290.00