Star of a maritime auction at Adam Partridge’s Liverpool rooms was this stirring oil on canvas titled ‘Caernarvon Bay, W. Griffith. Commander’, the threemasted vessel in choppy seas, signed and dated 1897 by its author William Howard Yorke (1847-1921). The Caernarvon
Bay was built in Glasgow in 1894 by A Rodgers & Co and registered in Liverpool. On September 5, 1910, Captain William Griffith was heading from Liverpool to Sydney, Australia. with 4,000 tons of cargo when she was blown off course and struck Stanley Rock off King Island, Tasmania. She sank with 31 crew and one passenger, all surviving in two small boats. The vessel was lost.
The mark of a good maritime artist is one who can paint a ship sitting in water rather than appearing to float on it. Yorke, a Liverpool ship portraitist, was among the best, his seas and skies also being particularly accomplished. The painting sold for £1,300.