The 'Luxborough Galley' burnt nearly to the water
Original Author: John Cleveley
Created: 1760
Medium: Oil on canvas

The ‘Luxborough Galley’ burnt nearly to the water, 25 June 1727

The Luxborough Galley, an English ship involved in the so-called triangular trade, burns in the distance on June 25, 1727, as the surviving sailors huddle together on a small boat in the foreground. Under the command of Captain William Kellaway, the Luxborough Galley left England in October 1725 loaded with a cargo of Indian cottons and other trade items that were exchanged for 600 enslaved people in West Africa. The ship, funded by the British South Sea Company, then sailed to Jamaica, with eight members of the crew and 203 Africans dying of smallpox en route. The remaining slaves were sold in Jamaica for rum and sugar. The ship and its cargo set sail for England in May 1727, but after a month at sea there was an accident in the hold of the ship. A lighted candle ignited rum dripping out of a keg, setting the ship on fire and killing sixteen crewmembers. Twenty-three survivors, including the captain, were set adrift without food or water for two weeks. During that time some of them died while those who remained resorted to cannibalism. Fishermen off the coast of Newfoundland finally rescued the surviving group on July 7, 1727. The artist John Cleveley painted six scenes, including this one, of the notorious nautical disaster.

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