The graceful iron screw steamer Lightning was built by D. & W. Henderson at Meadowside, on the Clyde, in 1891 at a cost of £60,000. Ordered for Apcar & Company of Calcutta, she was the largest vessel in their small fleet and was registered at 3,307 tons gross (2,124 net). Measuring 364½ feet in length with a 43½ foot beam, she was engined by her builders and could steam at 12 knots whilst also carrying auxiliary sail on two masts. Intended for the Calcutta - China & Japan trade, she could accommodate 16 cabin passengers in the poop but also crammed up to 1,334 coolies on her open decks, usually Indians to Penang or Singapore and Chinese between Singapore and the mainland ports of their homeland. After twenty years with her original owners, Lightning joined the British India Steam Navigation Co. when that line purchased Apcars in 1912. Thereafter put to work on a number of routes, including the Persian Gulf, this rather beautiful steamer was sold for scrapping in 1922 and broken up in Japan the following year.
Dated 1892, this work was almost certainly commissioned by Lightning's owners to mark her entry into service at Calcutta.