"...Robert Dodd's print is somewhat idealized in its portrayal, but decidedly more harrowing. Walls of ice threaten the stranded ship, and the boats are tossed on threatening waves. When the Guardian, bound for New South Wales with convicts aboard, struck ice and was stranded, many of her crew and passengers took to the boats. We see only some of the 259 people that crammed onto the five boats. Of these only fifteen would survive. Riou managed to get ahead of the rapidly gaining water in his hold (at its height, there was sixteen feet of water in his ship) and made it safety. His tale of survival would be the inspiration for the third act of Patrick O'Brian's novel "Desolation Island."
|"Part of the crew of His Majesty's Ship Guardian endeavouring to escape in the boats". |
Robert Dodd, 1790, National Portrait Gallery (Australia).