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Ship Portraits

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Sailing Ships

Louis Le Breton. (1818-1866) "Le Clipper Américain Electric: De New York au Havre, Arrivant Aux Etats Unis en vue du Feu de Sandy Hook." Paris: Wild, edit rue de la Banque 15 près de la Bourse, 1854. 14 9/16 x 24 1/16 (image). Lithograph printed by Lemercier. Original hand color. Very good condition.

The ship Electric was a medium clipper built at Stonington/Mystic, Connecticut, by Irons & Grinnell, launched on 5 September 1853. She was owned first by G. Adams, and later by the Gerry family of New York. She made a single voyage around Cape Horn to California, sailing from New York on 15 November 1854, and arriving at San Francisco on 4 March 1855, a passage of 116 days. The Electric sailed from San Francisco on 24 March 1855, and crossed the Pacific to Hong Kong in 48 days. From Hong Kong she proceeded to Shanghai, whence she sailed to New York in 106 days.

Aside from this single round the world voyage, the Electric served in the transatlantic trade, in particular between New York, Havre, and Antwerp. On 30 July 1856, she was purchased by the Hamburg ship owner Robert Miles Sloman, who continued to employ her primarily in the North Atlantic trade. On 2 November 1868, the ship sailed from Hamburg and on 21 December 1868, went ashore at Great Egg Harbor, New Jersey. The Electric was towed to New York, where extensive repairs were made. On 7 November 1872, while bound from Hamburg to New York, she was abandoned, leaky and nearly full of water. All the crew and passengers were safely evacuated and taken to Ireland. $2,200

Louis XIV
Prints by Louis Le Breton. Paris, ca. 1865. Lithographs by "Lebreton." Original hand color. Very good condition, except as noted.

Louis Le Breton (1818-1866) was one of the most prolific nineteenth century marine painters. His work is known for its precise detail, presented in a lovely, artistic manner. These prints are typical of his work.

Barge Race
Josiah Taylor. ". . . Fifth Annual Sailing Barge Match . . ." London: J. Taylor, 1868. 16 1/4 x 28 1/4. Lithograph by J. Taylor. Original hand color. Good margins, with some chipping and repaired tears; one tear extending into sky at top. Minor surface blemishes. Overall, very good condition and appearance.

A beautifully drawn and lithographed print of a Thames sailing barge race. The Thames sailing barges were a commercial boat used on the Thames River during the nineteenth century. They were flat-bottomed and so could float in very shallow water; it was said that they could sail wherever a duck could swim. Their maneuverability and shallow draft made them perfect to work the Thomas and its estuary, though they were used elsewhere around England. Beginning in 1863, a barge owner, Henry Dodd, began an annual race for the barges, for fun, pride, to hone the sailing skills of the sailors, and to encourage improvements in design. Dodd was a plough boy who made a fortune disposing London's waste using the barges; upon his death in 1881 he left £5000 for future match prizes, ensuring the continuation of the races. The matches have been run intermittently since, and they are now considered the world's second oldest sailing race, after the America's Cup. This lovely print shows the fifth annual race, in July 1867. It was drawn, lithographed and published by Josiah Taylor, a well-known marine artist of the period. $1,400

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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated March 17, 2015