Freotopia > people >

Charles Russell

Captain Charles Robert Tilden 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.


The image above is borrowed from this page - which goes 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.


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



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.

Entry in Erickson: RUSSELL, Charles Russell Tylden (Captain) , b. c. 1845 (England), d. 26.11.1918 (England). Arr. 29.6.1886 per Elderslie from London with family, m. 1870s (England) Cecilia HUTTON-POTTS. Chd. Charles, Eleanor, Jane (all b. England), Robert Vane entered Indian Civil Service, drowned In wreck Empress of India, Cecilia, Susan Hoy1e, Minnie, Elizabeth. Frem. Chief Harbour Master 1886-1902 (retired). Residence Arthur's Head. On retirement returned to England. Educ. as for officer of Royal Navy in England. Competent artist. C/E.

Russell's 'second daughter' - which would be Jane - married the architect Charles Lancelot Oldham, to whom she bore two sons and two daughters.

References and Links

Erickson, Rica et al. 1987 (etc.), Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians, UWAP.

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

Winchester College page about Robert Vane Russell (1873-1915), Charles Russell's son.

Garry Gillard | New: 13 August, 2018 | Now: 6 October, 2023