Search the Collection
Advanced Search

Reproduced courtesy of the Allcot Trust


Date: 1939
420 x 540 x 60 mm
Medium: Watercolour on paper in wood frame
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift in memory of Jack Pankoff
Object Copyright: © Allcot Trust
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00039774

User Terms

    This portrait depicts the renowned clipper ship CUTTY SARK fully rigged and sailing at sea. The CUTTY SARK was one of the last and fastest vessels to be used in the British tea and wool trade. During the 19th century ship portraits were often commissioned by ship captains or owners. The fame of the CUTTY SARK has made it a continuing subject for painters in the 20th century.
    SignificanceThis is a fine depiction of one of Britain’s most famous clipper ships. The CUTTY SARK played a prominent role in the Australian wool trade during the late 19th century. It is still a celebrated and much loved clipper ship.
    HistoryThe era of the clipper ships was dominated by a sense of romance, competition, national pride and innovative technology. These sleek and graceful ships were a symbol of American modernity and fundamental to the expanding global economy. Their design concentrated on speed instead of cargo capacity and was a great benefit to shipping companies eager to transport goods quickly.

    The CUTTY SARK is the last surviving and most famous British tea clipper. It was launched in 1869 at Dumbarton on the River Clyde, Scotland and received its name from a Robert Burns' poem, Tam O'Shanter. In the poem Tam meets Nannie, a young and beautiful witch who is only wearing a 'cutty sark' (short chemise). The ship's figurehead is carved as a likeness of Nannie.

    The CUTTY SARK's sleek lines and enormous sails made it the fastest sailing ship in the tea trade with China. Unfortunately the Suez Canal (which sailing ships could not navigate) was opened the same year that the CUTTY SARK was launched. The ship's last tea cargo was carried in 1877. Between 1885 and 1895 it was used in the Australian wool trade, bringing the new season wool from Sydney to London and setting top speed records each year. The CUTTY SARK is located in dry dock at Greenwich, England. The ship was extensively damaged by fire in 2008.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: CUTTY SARK

    Assigned title: CUTTY SARK

    Related People

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.