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    Sale 5887

    Maritime Art

    13 May 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 736

    Michael James Whitehand (b.1941)

    The clipper Titania outward bound and passing the Needles

    Price Realised  


    Michael James Whitehand (b.1941)
    The clipper Titania outward bound and passing the Needles
    signed 'M J Whitehand' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    16 x 20 in. (40.6 x 50.8 cm.)

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    Generally acknowledged as the finest-lined clipper to emanate from Robert Steele's yards at Greenock, Titania was built for Lowther, Maxton & Co. of London in 1866. Registered at 879 tons, she measured 200 feet in length with a 36 foot beam, and these dimensions gave her the strength to carry a large sail plan aided by masts of steel plate. No expense was spared to fit her out and she was beautifully finished, yet her first two voyages proved disappointing as it soon became apparent that her master, Captain Deas, had lost his nerve due to advancing age. Her maiden passage out to China began badly when she lost her foremast in a squall off the Cape Verde Islands but, after repairing in Rio, she loaded her first tea in August and was home in 115 days having left Shanghai on 2nd September to dock in London on Boxing Day. The next year's voyage was slower - 126 days - with the result that her owners replaced Captain Deas with W.H. Burgoyne who immediately transformed her performance. Clearing Shanghai on 16th June 1869, he raced Titania home in 98 days in one of the fastest passages of the season. After two years Burgoyne was succeeded by Captain Dowdy and he was similarly successful, bringing Titania home in 93 days, Foochow to London, in 1871 in the best passage of her career.

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