A masterful two-position portrait of the American Sailing Packet CHAMPLAIN, straight from Samuel Walters early, outstanding period of marine art. On an outside approach to Liverpool past Holyhead, Anglesey, the stalwart presence of the Trinity House’s South Stack Lighthouse is in distant view. CHAMPLAIN has her request for a local pilot to guide her safely to a Liverpool berth flying on top of the main mast, and her “C” swallowtail Philadelphia houseflag at the main-top. In the second-position, she is being met by Pilot Schooner 6, IRLAM, built in 1831 by Mottershead, Heyes & Son of Liverpool.
In a lively green sea that has come to be known as a hallmark of the Liverpool School of artists, the American packet ship is portrayed in profile with at least 26 people, crew and passengers, including women wearing bonnets, shown ondeck. Walter’s trademark accuracy faithfully portrays the smallest details, evidenced by the ship’s prominent figurehead of the famous explorer of North America, Samuel de Champlain, in a kilt with a long rifle.
CHAMPLAIN was built in New York in 1834 and registered in her home port of Philadelphia, making several voyages to China by way of Britain and back. Walters painted another view of her in 1836 immediately off Perch Rock Fort and Lighthouse that is in the CIGNA Museum Collection of Philadelphia. This is a superior work of art with great historic content.