Monday, 22 October 2018

Ship of many names immortalised in oils

A FAMOUS shipwreck is the subject of a new oil painting by Watlington artist James Kelso.

A FAMOUS shipwreck is the subject of a new oil painting by Watlington artist James Kelso.

Titled The Shipping Forecast, the painting shows the wreck of the ocean liner, American Star.

Mr Kelso said: “She was built in 1940 for the United States Lines. In her 54-year career she served as liner, troopship and cruise ship.

“She had many names: the SS America, USS West Point, SS Australis, SS Italis, SS Noga, SS Alferdoss and finally SS American Star.

“In 1994, at the end of her life, she was being towed to Thailand to be converted into a floating hotel.



“During a storm off the west coast of Africa the ship broke the towlines and was left to float free.

“After drifting for days she beached on the west coast of Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands. No effort was made to refloat her.

“For many years the wreck was a famous local tourist attraction. After constant battering from the sea she broke in half. By March 2013, she was gone, only visible during low tide.”

The fact that the 115cm by 83cm painting is released in an American presidential election year with the US ship of state itself in unsettled waters is, says the artist, coincidence.

Mr Kelso’s work has often been exhibited at the Royal Academy, along with the Royal Festival Hall and the London Stock Exchange.

His paintings are in private collections in Britain, America, Australia, France and Sweden, and prints have been sold worldwide.

His work can be viewed online at www.saatchiart.com and www.kelsopaintings.com



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