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John Rento along with four other seamen deserted the guano ship RENARD. They landed in the Solomon Islands and Renton became the sole survivor when the four others were killed by the islanders. Renton survived because he became a talisman for a local chief. Eight years later he was rescued by the labour recruiting vessel BOBTAIL NAG

He wrote an account of their voyage and how the five of them survived. The engraving illustrates how they captured sharks to eat by enticing them close to the boat by hanging their legs over the gunwales and then harpooning them.


Published in The Australasian Sketcher. 1875.


Wood engraving.


220 x 220 mm.


Wood engravings were first produced in Europe in the fifteenth century. During the late eighteenth century the process was reintroduced and used for inexpensive illustrated books. The nineteenth century publishing phenomena of the illustrated newspaper was made possible by use of the technique. The process allowed for the illustration and the text to be printed by a single pass through the printing press using the letterpress method.  It also made it possible for several engravers or even a team to produce and work on a single illustration at the same time.


All the major artists of the period contributed to the illustrations. Some papers acknowledged the artists on the plates but The Australasian Sketcher appears to have had a policy of anonymity. Where known, we have included the artist’s name.


A LIVE BAIT...[Malaita. John Renton. Shark attacks.]

SKU: REG000094
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