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Date: 1840-1880
680 x 300 x 1000 mm
Medium: Wood, metal, twine & horn
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from State Street Bank and Trust Company
Object Name: Ship model
Object No: 00000458

User Terms

    This model represents the clipper ship SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS on a scale of 1: 120. It was previously part of the State Street Bank’s Art Collection in Boston and was probably made by a sailor or shipping enthusiast. SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS was an American built vessel designed by the famous shipbuilder Donald McKay. In 1852 it was one of the largest and fastest ships to be launched from his East Boston shipyard. SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS catered for the high demand for passenger ships generated by the gold rush.
    SignificanceThis model is representative of ship models made during the 20th century and highlights one of the most famous vessels of the clipper ship age. SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS influenced the design of all following clipper ships.
    HistoryDuring the 19th century ship models were important in ship construction and widely used by shipwrights when designing and building vessels.

    Between the 1840s and 1870s the clipper ship was at the height of its technological development. Fueled by the gold rush and a growing world economy, the need for clippers to quickly transport large amounts of goods and people from continent to continent became great, and intensely competitive.

    For a period, America led the world in the design and seamanship of these sailing vessels. With their long, sleek lines and huge amounts of canvas, the clipper marked a significant achievement in American maritime history. Ship owners, shipping lines and ship builders competed to create the fastest vessels to increase their commercial profits. SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS was such a ship and made record breaking trips to Australia of 68 days.

    The vessel was the largest merchant ship of its time and carried cargo ranging from brandy and bacon to hosiery and horse blankets. In the late 19th century the development of steam power and the opening of the Suez and Panama Canals brought the demise of clipper ships.

    Related People
    Model Maker: Edward G Jay

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