Lot 391: (MARINE ALBUM.) Sabin, S.P. Unique album of watercolor drawings, photographs and ship memorabilia
December 8, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: (MARINE ALBUM.) Sabin, S.P. Unique album of watercolor drawings, photographs and ship memorabilia compiled by 4th officer S.P. Sabin of the British hospital ship SS Nubia. Containing over 50 full page and smaller watercolor and pencil drawings of P&O ships, harbor scenes, coastal profiles and genre relating to China, India and South Africa, most signed in monogram S.P.S.; over 175 full page and smaller photographs of the same. Tipped in and loose in 4to format full red morocco gilt by Riviere, rubbed; bookplate of Henry Huth. Vp, circa 1900-1907
Notes: This outstanding album is one man''s visual record of his time aboard the British steamer Nubia in the first years of the 20th century. The Nubia was converted to a British hospital ship and served as a transport for patients during the Second Boer or South African War from 1899 to 1903. Based on the present content, she also steamed across the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden on her way to provide relief in India and China. Along the passages, 4th officer S.P. Sabin drew skillful watercolor illustrations of many sister ships and scenery they encountered. An impressive archive of photographs was also taken or collected by Sabin representing much of the same, as well as camaraderie between fellow officers. Portraits of ships include: SS Sobraon wrecked off the coast of Taiwan (recently found in 2014), Japanese battleship Katori, SS Coromandel, SS Oriental, SS Egypt, USS Columbia, and others. Imagery of Cape Town, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bombay, Suez Canal, and Port of Aden permeates the album. Additional ephemeral materials included are newspapers and programs for theatrical events printed onboard the Nubia in 1902/1903, Sabin''s 1901 landing permit during the South African War, portrait of the P&O steamer Orient''s football team with their record, and a sketch of Sir Austen Chamberlain on the back of a handwritten ship''s dinner menu. Several photos of Sabin himself at various ages are present, introducing a handsome face to go along with his impressive contemporary record of time aboard an Imperial British steamer.