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Clipper ship COMET of New York in a hurricane off Bermuda, on her voyage from New York to San Francisco, October 1852

Date: 1855
Dimensions:
Overall: 613 x 769 mm, 5 mm, 0.7 kg
Medium: Chromolithograph on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Art
Object Name: Lithograph
Object No: 00018996
Place Manufactured:New York

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    Description
    This hand-coloured chromolithograph on paper depicts the New York clipper ship COMET caught in a hurricane off the coast of Bermuda. The ship was on route to San Francisco from New York in October 1852 when it lost its topmast and royalmast in a storm. Despite this the COMET was repaired and made its voyage in the speedy time of 79 days under the command of Captain E C Gardiner.
    SignificanceThis lithograph is an example of ship portraiture during the 19th century and is representative of the vessel COMET. It highlights the practice of Captains or ship owners commissioning portraits to commemorate a ship, wreck or maritime event.
    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 COMET was built in New York by William H Webb and launched in July 1851. It was described as one of the fastest ships to be launched from his yard and was mainly used for transporting passengers and cargo to San Francisco. In 1863 COMET was sold in London and renamed FIERY STAR. Well adapted for carrying passengers, it was used on the England - Australia run, sailing to Moreton Bay in 1863 and Brisbane in 1865. FIERY STAR was destroyed by fire in April 1865 off New Zealand on its way from Brisbane to London.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Clipper ship COMET of New York in a hurricane off Bermuda, on her voyage from New York to San Francisco, October 1852

    Web title: Clipper ship COMET of New York in a hurricane off Bermuda, on her voyage from New York to San Francisco, October 1852

    Related People
    Lithographer: Nathaniel Currier

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