Charles Miller Maritime Auctions

January 2015

Charles Miller Ltd, London’s only specialist auction house dedicated to the sale of maritime and scientific objects and works of art, has issued an invitation to consign for the Spring Sale, scheduled for 12 May.

 

Included so far in the Spring Sale is the builder’s own half block model for the famous tea clipper Thermopylæ (1868), from the familial descendants of the builder. Frequently pitched against her arch-rival Cutty Sark, Thermopylæ is considered by some to have been the fastest and the debate has never been wholly settled. The historical context can be followed here in serval articles in The Mariner’s Mirror.

Another significant item in the forthcoming sale is a watercolour illustrating early diving in the Mediterranean in the 1860s [see below]. Enclosed diving evolved rapidly from the 1840s and this unique 5½ x 6¾in. amateur watercolour, probably painted by an English tourist, is one of the earliest yet seen: entitled Divers at Malaga, Decr. 1861, the detail is good enough to identify the two divers wearing suits made by Heinke & Co. of London, with their distinctive square-cut corselets and round side ports – but perhaps even more extraordinary is the hat worn by the assistant sitting between them.

For a little historical context,  see a recent article in The Mariner’s Mirror that explores the use of early diving bells in the recovery of the treasure frigate Thetis in the 1830s.

A fascinating archive of past Charles Miller auctions is available here.

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