Signed W.S. Jolly
Oil on canvas
Although there were many artists with the name Jolly, no W.S. Jolly has been identified in the major marine artist’s dictionaries. W.S. Jolly was a competent marine artist, perhaps an amateur, but created a very nice image of the Tug Aid. Jolly is likely British, since the tug is flying the British Red Ensign. There is little in the painting to further identify the background or particular situation in which the tug is depicted. A photograph of this tug Aid, dated circa 1878, is known. The screw Tug Aid should not be confused with the paddle tug Aid depicted elsewhere in this collection.
Using the Mercantile Navy List (British), we have determined that this tug was probably the one built at Millwall, on the Thames River, near London in 1877. This Aid was owned by the Union Lighterage Company, and registered at London. She was 60 feet, 6 inches in length; 32 gross tons; and had a horse power of 30. Her Official Number was 77018 and she appears to be a river tug, not an ocean-going tug. The only other Tug Aid that may be a candidate, was owned and operated in Castries Harbor, St. Lucia, in the Caribbean. This painting does not seem to fit that candidate. SSHSA thanks Dr. Sam Davidson, of West Kirby, England, for his help in identifying this vessel.