Fort George, seen here in the middle ground with the flag fluttering in a light breeze, was built by the French in 1705. Much of it has survived and it remains a popular destination for visitors to the island. According to William R. O'Byrne's A naval biographical dictionary (London: 1849) Vol. 1, p.70, Bellairs joined the Navy in 1809 and made Lieutenant in 1819. From 1842 he served as Admiralty Agent on board a 'contract Mail steam-vessel'. He evidently travelled widely: the National Maritime Museum in London hold two of his West Indian drawings, the National Library of Australia a watercolour of a scene in Panama, and a collection of his drawings of the Far East were sold in 1982. As the present drawing shows he was clearly gifted, and more than a match for many of the professional artists working at the time. His 'professional' status received contemporary confirmation when his watercolor 'View of the town of St. Thomas, in the West Indies' was drawn on stone by W.L. Walton, lithographed and hand-colored by Charles Hullmandel, and published as a separate print in 1843 (a copy of this print is held in the New York Public Library collection, and is described by Deak).
Attributed to Walford Thomas Bellairs (1794-1850)
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