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Clipper ship GREAT REPUBLIC

Date: c 1865
Dimensions:
Overall: 435 x 587 mm, 2.35 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Art
Object Name: Lithograph
Object No: 00004849

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    Description
    This hand coloured lithograph depicts a portrait of the clipper ship GREAT REPUBLIC from its starboard side fully rigged and flying an American flag from the stern. GREAT REPUBLIC was the largest clipper ship to be designed. It played an active role in Australia's 19th century trade and was originally designed to hold 4000 tons of freight. In comparison to most clippers which could hold an average of 2000 tons.
    SignificanceThis lithograph represents the historic ship GREAT REPUBLIC and the contribution of Donald McKay to shipbuilding. GREAT REPUBLIC was designed to be McKay's crowning achievement. It was hailed as the largest and most beautiful clipper ship to have been built.
    HistoryThe era of the clipper ships occurred between 1845 and 1875. The period was dominated by a sense of romance, competition, national pride and innovative technology. The 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, a great benefit for shipping companies eager to transport goods quickly.

    The GREAT REPUBLIC was launched on 4 October 1853 with a record crowd in attendance. It was individually financed by its designer Donald McKay because no merchant shipping line was willing to pay the high construction costs for the biggest clipper ship. The vessel was intended to carry freight to Liverpool, England and then transport passengers to Australia. However it caught fire while moored at a dock in New York and to the disappointment of McKay was scrapped, sold and rebuilt on a much smaller scale. The GREAT REPUBLIC went on to have an extensive career transporting goods around the world. In 1872 it sank near Bermuda in a hurricane.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: CLIPPER SHIP "GREAT REPUBLIC", DEPICTED BROADSIDE WITH STARBOARD SIDE VIEW, FULLY RIGGED THREE MASTED WOODEN SAILING VESSEL. PUBLSIHED BY CURRIER AND IVES.

    Web title: Clipper ship GREAT REPUBLIC

    Related People
    Lithographer: Nathaniel Currier

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