• Maritime Art auction at Christies

    Sale 5949

    Maritime Art

    11 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 73

    Attributed to Duncan McFarlane (1834-1871)

    The Black Ball clipper Ocean Chief on her Australian run with the crew aloft reefing-down the sails

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Attributed to Duncan McFarlane (1834-1871)
    The Black Ball clipper Ocean Chief on her Australian run with the crew aloft reefing-down the sails
    oil on canvas
    25 x 40 in. (63.5 x 101.6 cm.)


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    The 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 (see lot 81), 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 whilst in port at Bluff Harbour, New Zealand in January 1862.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Exhibited

    San Francisco, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Exhibition of American Paintings, 1935.