November 3 1890
the Editor of the Australasian
- Mr. John Mason, writing of the ancient wreck once on the hammocks
between Port Fairy and Warrnambool, says, in last Saturday's issue: -
As regards its nationality, I do not profess to be a judge, but if the ships
depicted in this well-known picture of A Long-forgotten Expedition,
published some years back by the London Art Union, are accurately represented as
being either of Spanish or Portuguese build, then I think there is little doubt
that the wreck in question is of neither, as the high ornamental prow and deep
sheer, or longitudinal curve of the deck line of the ship of those nations were
here entirely absent, the general appearance and build resembling more the
outlines of our own [word unreadable in
original article] lighters, only of
greater dimensions, and [word unreadable
in original article] a very slight
acquaintance of the builder with marine architecture.
It may assist Mr. Mason to know that the picture A Long-forgotten
Australian Expedition was painted, not for the London Art Union but for
the Art Union of Victoria, in whose affairs I took an active part.
In some early Portuguese charts is a fragmentary indication of a portion of the
Australian coast line. This naturally suggested to the council of the art
union that there had once been a Portuguese exploring expedition, and we
entrusted a clever young artist, Mr. J.C. Curtis, with the work of producing an
ideal picture of the starting from Lisbon of that expedition. In this case
I think he succeeded admirably. The Art Union of Victoria reproduced this
picture in shrouded lithography, and made the original one of its prizes.
The argument of Mr. Mason, then to some extent,
rests upon the imagination of
Mr.Curtis, which may (or may not have been influenced by historical accuracy) as
to marine construction. Mr. Curtis is still amongst us, and some good work of
his I have seen lately.