Shipping paintings

In conjunction with marine artist, John Ford FASMA, Adelaide Proformat is able to offer our clients a very special service.

If we find the immigrant vessel that brought your ancestors to chinaAustralia, we can commission John Ford to prepare a wonderful watercolour of the vessel. The process undertaken is two-fold.

Firstly Adelaide Proformat undertake to research the circumstances of the arrival of your colonists. In some case this means locating the vessel concerned and we would point out that if this is unknown then there is the possibility that the work will end at this early stage and the cost will be just AUD35.00. This is because:

• Not all passenger lists have survived.
• Sometimes surviving lists do not name all the passengers.
• Some colonies did not collect or keep all the records.
• Some states have made the records more accessible than others.
• Some people transferred en route and carried on their journey overland and/or by coastal shipping.
'China' off Holdfast Bay 14 Dec 1847

If you can supply the name of the vessel and the date of the voyage then unless asked to check Adelaide Proformat will accept this as correct. We cannot then accept responsibility if you subsequently discover you have the wrong information. To check your information will cost AUD35.00.

Once the particular voyage is known, we undertake a range of studies to determine the circumstances of the arrival in an effort to make the illustration as accurate as possible. This work includes determining the ownership of the vessel which in turn leads to the design of the vessel and the colours of the hull etc, the rigging, and the weather to determine the state of the sea, sky and the amount of sail being employed. This work also determines the likelihood of any other vessels in the vicinity. The cost of this research is rather open ended and dependent on where the records are held, but usually totals no more than AUD105.00.

This information is then passed on to the marine historian/artist, John Ford of Port Adelaide who then determines the presentation in water colour. His fee is very much determined by the size of painting you seek and the costs range from AUD400 upwards. John will require an advanced deposit of a quarter of the total quote. You can advise your budget for the painting and John will determine the size of the painting. Packaging and delivery to your door will also be determined at the time of the request.
You may seek to depict a specific incident in the painting such as unloading the vessel at Port Adelaide etc and this will be investigated and you will be advised if this can be done. If you do not request a setting, then the artist will determine. A very popular scene is to depict the vessel off the coast with a prominent geographical feature in the background.

A timeline cannot be determined precisely for any of this work as it is very much dependent on the state of our order books at the time of the commissioning. You can expect a painting to take about eight weeks from the time of paying the deposit. To start the process just contact Adelaide Proformat


1. Both John Ford and Adelaide Proformat reserve the right to refuse a commission.
2. Artists in Australia retain the copyright of their paintings for 50 years after their death and permission has to be sought before photographing or copying.

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