Crossing the Line


Crossing The Line, painted on board HMS MALABAR, c. 1883


Today, I’ve been going through some of the old images and documents I have related to my family history. Of which I still haven’t done much with.

Whilst doing so, I came across this painting.

This was painted by the Skipper on board HMS MALABAR October 1883, as it carried British troops to India.

The image was painted as the ship crossed the Equator,

The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite in the British Merchant Navy, Dutch merchant navy, Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps,Royal Australian Navy, Russian Navy, and other navies that commemorate a sailor’s first crossing of the Equator.

My 2x great-grandfather Charles Barritt (1861 – 1902), crossed the equator on board Malabar almost a year to the day, that this image was painted, his crossing the line ceremony took place in October 1884.

I love this painting as it showcases the energy and experience in colourful detail.

This painting sold at auction several years ago, if it was painted the year that Charles was onboard then I would have bought the original artwork.


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