Grappling for the Lost Cable
Grappling for the Lost Cable c1866 by British Painter Robert Charles Dudley (1826 – 1909), a British watercolourist and lithographer.
This painting is one of a series of six paintings created by Dudley the depicts the first successful laying of the first Transatlantic telegraph cable.
There had been three other attempts in 1857, 1858 and 1865; but all were unsuccessful until 1866.
This is a maritime ship painting of The Great Eastern, when at midnight September 1, 1866 it had picked up the cable; considered one of the most important and significant events of the time.
In the artwork we see three ships, two in the far distance on either side of the main ship The Great Eastern. There is a large compliment of the crew on the main deck at the bow of the ship with a grappling hook partially lowered from which a sailor is hanging precariously from a line attached to the grappling hook.
There are also to row boats in the water, each with a full compliment of sailors that are also involved in looking for the transatlantic telegraph cable under cloudy night skies with a bright full moon piercing the clouds; to the right of the painting we can see a partially star lit sky and a flare that has been fired into the sky.
The art work was donated by Cyrus W. Field to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. May 5, 1892, who was a founder of the Atlantic Telegraph Company and instrumental in the laying of the cable.
This is a retouched digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image that is available for purchase on line as a rolled print.