The lack of any distinguishing flags makes it unlikely that this vessel can be identified by name despite her particularly pronounced ram bow and the fact that the painting is precisely dated. Her general appearance however suggests that she is one of the four "Regina Maria Pia" class of broadside ironclads ordered for the Italian Navy in the early 1860's and named Regina Maria Pia, San Martino, Castelfidardo and Ancona. Designed and built in France, the four sisters varied slightly in size and tonnage but were approximately 265 feet in length with a 50 foot beam, and displaced about 4500 tons when fully laden. Originally rigged as three-masted schooners, they were laid down in 1862 and were all completed and in commission to participate in the ill-fated Battle of Lissa (20 July 1866), an action of the greatest significance in naval warfare in that it was the world's first encounter between two armoured fleets. Despite the devastation meted out by the Austrians, the "Maria Pia" class emerged intact and each ship survived onto the twentieth century even though all had dissapeared by 1914.
Queen Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911) was the daughter of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy and subsequently became the wife of King Louis I of Portugal.