A capable ship for handling diverse cargoes, the Thomas Killam-built Barque BRASIL cuts the waters off Nova Scotia in this memorable painting by then-local painter Jack L. Gray. Working for the Killam Brothers Yard - the oldest shipyard in Canada, started in 1788 - Gray worked directly for George Killam in the 1950s, and painted for his son Robert as well, the fifth and last generation of the family to run the yard.
The 555-ton Barque BRASIL, built in 1866, was a ship Thomas Killam shared ownership of, with Nova Scotia’s Bowman Corning. The success of their ship chandlery and shipping industry, primarily in coal and trade goods, was a principle factor in the growth of 19th Century Yarmouth. Thomas was also a leading political representative for the region.
Gray proved time and again that he knew his subjects, even one that had sailed well before his time. A working sailor as well as an artist, Gray was a serious scholar of shipping and fishing, studying the ‘old ways’ along the northern shores of Nova Scotia. BRASIL is shown in full sailing trim, her empirical ensign and Killam House Flag on display. Gray’s artistic touch is traditional in the sense of a broadside ship portrait, but with superior artistic flourishes of shadow and texture, bringing life and depth to the ship on the open ocean.