Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Landing at Newfoundland

Artist:
Robert Charles Dudley (British, 1826–1900)
Date:
ca. 1866
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
22 3/4 x 33 1/4 in. (57.8 x 84.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Cyrus W. Field, 1892
Accession Number:
92.10.46
Not on view
Cyrus W. Field, New York (until 1892)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Cyrus W. Field Collection of Paintings," 1894, no. 38.

New York. American Museum of Natural History. "Morse Exhibition of Arts and Science," January 18–February 28, 1950, unnumbered cat. (p. 124).

Cyrus W. Field. Letter to the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. May 5, 1892, offers his collection of objects commemorating the laying of the Atlantic cable, including this painting, to the MMA.

Henry M[artyn]. Field. The Story of the Atlantic Telegraph. New York, 1892, ill. opp. 341, as "Landing the Shore End at Heart's Content".

Daniel Huntington. Letter to General Luigi Palma di Cesnola. May 3, 1892, strongly recommends the accession of this series (92.10.42-47), noting that it represents "one of the important events of our times".

Josephine C. Dobkin. "The Laying of the Atlantic Cable: Paintings, Watercolors, and Commemorative Objects Given to the Metropolitan Museum by Cyrus W. Field." Metropolitan Museum Journal 41 (2006), pp. 155, 157–58, 167, Appendix no. 3, notes that this is the third picture in the series, showing the five ships which crossed the Atlantic landing in the village of Heart's Content in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland on July 27, 1866.



This series of six paintings (92.10.42–47) illustrates the laying of the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable. After unsuccessful attempts in 1857, 1858, and 1865, the cable was finally laid and brought into use in 1866. Cyrus W. Field, the donor of the works, was a founder of the Atlantic Telegraph Company and instrumental in the laying of the cable.

The six pictures illustrate the sequence of events as follows [see Ref. Dobkin 2006]:

1) Landing the Shore End of the Atlantic Cable (92.10.44)

2) Making the Splice between the Shore End and the Ocean Cable (92.10.47)

3) Landing at Newfoundland (92.10.46)

4) Grappling for the Lost Cable (92.10.45)

5) Awaiting the Reply (92.10.43)

6) Homeward Bound: 'The Great Eastern' (92.10.42)

Five of the six (92.10.42-46) were illustrated in "The Story of the Atlantic Telegraph" by Henry M. Field [see Ref. Field 1892] without attribution to Dudley. Dudley also executed a series of watercolors (MMA 92.10.48–91) depicting each of the attempts to lay the cable, from 1857 to 1866, which are unrelated to the compositions of the paintings. Some of these watercolors were used as illustrations in William H. Russell's book "The Atlantic Telegraph" (1866; MMA 92.10.100). Field also donated several related commemorative objects, documents, and medals (MMA 92.10.1–40, 92.10.92–99).
Related Objects

The Paying-out Machinery in the Stern of the Great Eastern

Artist: Robert Charles Dudley (British, 1826–1900) Date: 1865 Medium: Watercolor over graphite with touches of gouache Accession: 92.10.63 On view in:Not on view

Splicing the Cable (after the First Accident) on Board the Great Eastern, July 25th, 1865

Artist: Robert Charles Dudley (British, 1826–1900) Date: 1865–66 Medium: Watercolor over graphite with touches of gouache Accession: 92.10.64 On view in:Not on view

Launching the Buoy from the Bow of the Great Eastern on August 8th, 1865

Artist: Robert Charles Dudley (British, 1826–1900) Date: 1865–66 Medium: Watercolor over graphite with touches of gouache Accession: 92.10.70 On view in:Not on view

The Forge on Deck, Night of August 9th: Preparing the Iron Plating for Capstan

Artist: Robert Charles Dudley (British, 1826–1900) Date: 1865–66 Medium: Watercolor over graphite with touches of gouache Accession: 92.10.71 On view in:Not on view

Forward Deck of the Great Eastern Cleared for the First Attempt to Grapple for the Lost Cable, August 11th, 1865

Artist: Robert Charles Dudley (British, 1826–1900) Date: 1865–66 Medium: Watercolor over graphite with touches of gouache Accession: 92.10.72 On view in:Not on view