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Clipper OCEAN CHIEF on her Australian run

Date: c 1855
Overall: 745 x 1109 mm
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00046912

User Terms

    This painting depicts the clipper OCEAN CHIEF of the Black Ball Line on the Australia run. Shown from broadside port view, the OCEAN CHIEF is under sail not far from shore, another ship in the distance. The crew can be seen aloft reefing the vessel's sails.
    SignificanceThis painting represents the historic ship OCEAN CHIEF which set a new record on its maiden voyage from Liverpool to Hobart - taking just 72 days. Designed by Samuel Pook, OCEAN CHIEF is an example of American naval architecture and shipbuilding in the 'clipper era' (1845 - 1875), and is associated with transportation of immigrants to Australia during the Goldrush.
    HistoryThe wooden clipper OCEAN CHIEF, 1,026 tons, was built to their own account by J. & C. Morton at Thomaston, Maine, in 1854. Designed by Samuel Pook, the creator of the famous Red Jacket, OCEAN CHIEF was equally fine and measured 190 feet in length with a 39 foot beam. Soon after launching, she was sold to James Baines & Co. of Liverpool for $85,000 and thereby joined the celebrated Black Ball Line of Australian clippers just when passages to and from that colony were in huge demand due to the prevailing gold rush.

    OCEAN CHIEF's maiden voyage from Liverpool to Hobart set a new record for the run of 72 days and while her passages home that autumn and the next were 86 and 84 days respectively, she sped home in 75 days in 1856 - the second fastest run of the year. Regularly carrying 109 passengers and a crew of 52, her growing reputation as a flier proved shortlived when she was destroyed by fire while in port at Bluff Harbour, New Zealand in January 1862.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Clipper OCEAN CHIEF on her Australian run

    Assigned title: The Black Ball clipper OCEAN CHIEF on her Australian run with the crew aloft reefing down the sails

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