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Coromandel
H.M.S. Coromandel.
Oil on canvas (1010 x 760)mm.



The ship H.M.S. Coromandel was originally built as the East Indiaman Cuvera at Calcutta in 1798. She was a teak-built two-decker. The Admiralty purchased Cuvera from the East India Company on 30 May 1804 and renamed her Malabar. During 1815 Malabar was renamed Coromandel

In 1819 she was fitted as a convict transport for a voyage to New South Wales. She arrived in Hobart on 12 March 1820 with 300 convicts and guard detachments of from the 46th. and 84th. Regiments of Foot. She left half of her complement of prisoners and soldiers in Hobart and the remainder sailed on to Sydney, arriving on 5 April. Coromandel then proceeded to New Zealand to acquire timber spars for the Royal Navy and to undertake coastal survey work. She anchored off Colville on 13th June 1820 and the entered what is now Coromandel Harbour where she moored and remained for a year loading kauri timber for spars. The town' harbour and entire peninsula are named after the ship. Coromandel returned to Sydney in June 1821 and departed again for Britain on 25 July 1821.

The ship was laid up at Portsmouth in December 1821 and converted to a receiving ship in 1827. From 1828 until 1853, when she was broken up, she served as a  prison hulk in Bermuda.

The painting depicts the ship moored and facing towards the head of Coromandel Harbour. There is little visual reference to this ship. The only rather skimpy drafts were made after she had been converted to a prison ship. These do give some limited but vital information on her layout and appearance. She was originally built as an East Indiaman where capacity took precedence over armament and was almost  sufficiently high-sided to carry a second gun deck as the lower buff band indicates. As a prison ship ports were cut at this level for ventilation but not staggered as would have been gunports. The rig presents no difficulty as it would have been the standard Amiralty rig of the time.