As night fell on Christmas eve 1789, fog engulfed the Guardian, a convict transport ship, under Lieutenant Edward Riou. The ship was sailing between two destinations in Australia. Very late, lookouts sighted an enormous iceberg dead ahead. Turning away from disaster, the ship was caught by an underwater projection that slammed her against a wall of ice, tearing a hole in the hull, smashing away the rudder and destroying most of the sails. Riou, remaining calm as ever, managed to free the ship, but she was steadily sinking. He led a number of salvation attempts but each failed and on Boxing Day he allowed 259 people to leave in 5 escape boats, while he and 62 others remained with the Guardian, expecting to live only a few hours more. But in a hold below, some empty barrels broke free and became trapped under the lower gun deck, buoying the ship up and preventing her sinking. By incredible seamanship, the remnant Guardian limped back to the Cape of Good Hope, where her journey had begun, nine weeks before. Of the five escape boats, only one made it through, its' fifteen survivors were picked up by a French merchant ship.
This print is pulled from an engraving cut out of a sheet of rubber, and is a variation of letterpress printing. After removal of areas that are to be left as white paper, the remaining rubber is rolled up with ink and pressed to paper. The total number of prints in this case is closed at five and the printing plate discarded.
The print comprises oil-based black ink on high quality acid free paper and should present no keeping difficulties. The image measures 7x8¾ inches on a 10x12 inch sheet and will fit straight into a standard 10x12 inch frame.
black oil-based printing ink, Hahnemuhle etching paper 300gsm