Title: From Deck of S.S. Sarmatian off Moville, 1887 Artist: (Attributed to) Robert Harris Image Size: 5 x 7” (12.7 x 17.8 cm) Description: Oil on panel. Titled “Off Moville” at bottom left. Titled and dated verso. Also verso attribution to R. Harris in ink applied later.
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Moville is an Irish coastal town located on the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal, close to the northern tip of the island. The town has a scenic location on the western shore of Lough Foyle, about 30 km from Derry. In the second half of the 19th century, Moville was a point of embarkation for travelers, especially emigrants, to Canada and the USA. It was also a popular port of call for ships en route from the UK in order to pick up additional passengers.
S.S. Sarmatian was launched in March 1871. The ship was owned by the Allan Line (Montreal Ocean Steamship Company). The Sarmatian sailed her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Quebec and Montreal in August 1871. The vessel was a steam ship with three sailing masts. In 1874, she served as a troop ship transporting British soldiers to the Ashantee War on the Gold Coast of Africa. For the most part, however, the Sarmatian transported immigrants from Europe to North America. The ship was scrapped at Rotterdam in 1908.
Robert Harris and his wife, Bessie, sailed to England in 1886. They lived mainly in London leaving for Paris in June of the following year. He and Bessie returned to Montreal via Charlottetown in September 1887.