American School, Early 19th Century
Portrait of the Packet Ship Emerald off Liverpool
Oil on canvas, 28 x 39 in., in a giltwood frame.
Condition: Very minor spots of retouch.
Literature: See the Peabody Essex Museum's catalog Across the Western Ocean: American Ships by Liverpool Artists, p. 42, for a smaller composition undoubtedly by the same artist. For more information about Boston's early packet lines see Samuel Eliot Morrison's The Maritime History of Massachusetts 1783-1860. An illustration of this painting can be seen on page 232.
Note: The packet ship Emerald of Boston is showing here in two views. In the main view, she is anchored in the Mersey with two of Liverpool's well-known landmarks off her mizzen mast: St. Nicholas' Church and the dome of the Town Hall. In the secondary view at left, the vessel is seen under sail, with a view of the dome of St. Paul's, the vessel there painted in much lighter tones, to give the illusion of distance.
In the anchored view she has an extensive display of flags. From the mizzen fly the flags reading 273 in Watson's Code, signifying Emerald (American ship). From her main mast flies Boston's Elford Code flags, and on the foremast she is displaying Watson Code flags from one to zero, in correct order.
Built in Boston by John Wade in 1822 for the "Boston & Liverpool Packet Company," the Emerald was part of what was more familiarly called the "Jewel Line." Captain Philip Fox of Cohasset was her master, and the Emerald held the record for the fastest passage from Liverpool to Boston Light - 16 days, 21 hours.
We wish to thank Charles Lanagan for his assistance in cataloging this lot.
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