|Acquisition Number: 81.8
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Size: 16" x 25 1/2"
Credit: Gift of the William T. Martin Estate
What happened to this ship?
This painting depicts the Great Danish Training Ship "København," the world's largest sailing ship in 1921, which disappeared without a trace. Possible evidence has continued to emerge on this mystery, with no conclusion yet reached.
On September 21, 1928, the København departed for Buenos Aires on its tenth and final voyage to unload its cargo and bring back a shipment of supplies. 75 people were on board. The ship successfully reached its destination and departed, contacting the steamer William Blumer to communicate that all was well. The Blumer tried to contact the København again later that night, to no avail. The ship was never heard from again.
John (Jay) Arnold, signed J. Arnold, was born in England in 1882. He worked on sailing vessels, roaming the world from age 12 until age until age 25. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1914 and lived in the Washington D.C. area. He then began painting as he felt he could depict in watercolor and oil the sea and ships he knew so well.
Before the advent of photography, if a family had a painting on the wall, it was probably that of an ancestor or perhaps a depiction of the homeowner(s) or children. If, however, the picture was purely decorative, it was likely to be a landscape or — if the family lived near the water — a seascape. These maritime paintings tend to show views of the sea, harbors and shorelines and include representations of naval vessels (often engaged in battle), fishing boats, ocean liners, sailing ships and the like.