Fremantle Stuff > People > Charles Russell

Charles Russell

Capt Charles Russell was Chief Harbourmaster 1886-1902, and also a painter. The Maritime Museum Art Collection in Fremantle holds works painted on his journey from England to take up his post.

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The image above is borrowed from this page - which is no longer available - and which went into a good deal of helpful detail about Russell and about this painting (c. 1891) which shows the river jetty (aka North Jetty) and Willis Point (Ferry Point) which partly blocked access to the Swan River from the sea.

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This snap of a Russell painting turned up in Facebook, courtesy of Horatio T. Birdbath. This text came with it.

FREMANTLE FROM ABOVE CLIFF STREET JETTY (JULY)

This view in oils of Fremantle harbour shows Cliff Street jetty in the foreground with, in the centre, Willis's Point, which was cut away during extensions of the harbour over the period 1892-97. In the right background is seen the old railway bridge on the connecting rail link with Perth.
Prior to the opening of the harbour on 4th May, 1897, small boats plying to and from Perth used Cliff Street jetty, with main shipping using the 3,830 feet Long Jetty. When the harbour proper was opened to shipping the first ship to sail in was the Blue Funnel liner, Sultan, of about 2,000 tons. At the helm was Lady Forrest, wife of the then Premier, Sir John Forrest.
It is believe that this painting was executed about 1888/90, shortly before Willis's Point was cut away.
Captain Russell, the artist, was Fremantle's Harbourmaster from 1886-1902, during the time of the major extension and opening of the harbour proper. He had been a Commander in the Royal Navy, but, on his marriage to Miss Cecilia Hutton-Potts, took up farming in Sussex to please his father-in-law, who disliked the idea of a navy life for a married man. However, farming did not appeal, and in 1886 he accepted the position of Harbourmaster at Fremantle.
After his retirement, he and Mrs Russell returned to England to live at Minehead, Cornwall. Of their family of four daughters and one son, one daughter remained permanently in Western Australia.
Captain Russell was responsible for a large number of paintings, chiefly of marine subjects, in which his main interest lay.

References and Links

Olivia Gardner, 'Auction Highlight Spring 2010', 20 Nov 2010, GFL Fine Art.


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