Shipwreck – Gibsons of Scilly – Carl Douglas & Björn Hagberg
For over a century, five generations of the Gibson family photographed shipwrecks around Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The waters around these areas are widely regarded as some of the most treacherous for seafarers, and acknowledgement born out by the amount of shipwrecks that the Gibson family managed to photograph.
John Gibson was born in 1827 in Ireland and the family moved to the Isles of Scilly after the death of his father. The family were poor and John went to sea at the age of 12. His working life changed and bu 1861 he was listed as a ‘grocer’ based on St Mary’s but also developed a photographic portrait studio. His interest in shipwrecks took hold in 1875 when the Schiller, a German steamship, sank to the east of the Bishop Rock lighthouse with the loss of over 300 lives.
The family’s photographs of shipwrecks were produced as records of dramatic events but were also a source of income as the images could be sold to shipping companies to support insurance claims. The images were also bought by the public as souvenirs and to media outlets such as the Illustrated London News.
The shipwrecks presented in this book (from 1871 to 1962) are only a fraction of the wrecks that were documented by the Gibson family; which in turn were only a fraction of all of the vessels lost in the area. The collection of photographs is owned by the National Maritime Museum who acquired them at auction in 2013. It is a collection described as ‘the greatest archive of the drama and mechanics of shipwreck we will ever see.’
Each photograph in the book is accompanied by a description of the boat or ship and how it came to be wrecked.
Hardback. 198 pages.
32.8cm x 24.5cm x 3cm