Unlike the subjects of most ship portraits by this artist, the Ladybird was neither built in the Channel Isles nor was she a mail packet running to the islands from the mainland. A simple single-screw iron trading steamer, she was built at Dumbarton in 1851 for H.
Maples and registered at 176 tons. Powered by a 90hp. inverted geared engine, she could make 11 knots under steam which, being a good 4 knots faster than any other screw vessel of her day, gave her something of a reputation for speed. Despite, this, very little is known about her and although her intended route was to have been from London to the Clyde, she seems to have started her career instead with a brief charter on the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry before settling into a routine as a Jersey coaster for a few years prior to disappearing from record.