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Portrait of Captain Lauchlan McKay

Date: 19th century
Overall: 95 x 940 x 820 mm
Medium: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00003602

User Terms

    Lauchlan McKay was an important figure in shipbuilding during the 1840s. Alongside his brother Donald, Lauchlan played a key role in the innovative design of the American clipper ship. He also captained the famous vessel SOVERIENGN OF THE SEAS, specifically designed for the Southern Ocean trade route between America and Australia.
    SignificanceLauchlan McKay was an important figure in clipper ship construction and maritime history during the 19th century.
    HistoryThe brothers Lauchlan and Donald McKay were significant men during the age of the clipper ships. These ships combined a sleek hull with acres of canvas sails to reach record speeds of nearly 20 knots p/h. Competitive shipping companies and entrepreneurs were eager to take advantage of the innovative clipper ship design that increased their profits by allowing the quicker transportation of cargo. Between the two McKay brothers, Donald is best known for his shipbuilding construction, including his famous record breaking vessel FLYING CLOUD and SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS.

    Lauchlan McKay was born in Shelburne, Nova Scotia in 1811 and completed a shipwright apprenticeship in New York under Isaac Webb. He wrote the first comprehensive American text on shipbuilding, 'The practical ship-builder' which was published in New York by Collins, Keese and Co in 1839. The book provided mechanical and philosophical information on constructing different types of vessels. McKay went on to command a number of ships designed by his brother and passed away in 1895.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Portrait of Captain Lauchlan McKay

    Web title: Portrait of Captain Lauchlan McKay

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