With one of California's unique scow schooners working off her bow, the second Donald McKay vessel named SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS is shown here visiting San Francisco in the 1870s. Built in 1868 for Lawrence Giles & Co, this vessel was somewhat smaller than her namesake and not as much an extreme clipper as a precursor to the downeaster type.
We have had many of David Thimgan's works over the years but few this show the extraordinary light qualities seen in this painting. He uses the setting sun to create an intriguing interplay of light and shadow with warm bright tones to illuminate areas in outstanding detail while cooler shades create areas of great depth that anticipate the coming night. He has successfully captured the feel of a late afternoon on the San Francisco Bay with the wind kicking up and the fog rolling in over Telegraph Hill. This is one of the finest examples of Thimgan's work.
Designed as a large grain carrier, this vessel was not as fast as the first SOVEREIGN, making her initial passage from New York to San Francisco in 147 days, a time that was not improved upon during subsequent voyages. The ship was eventually sold to German interests and renamed ELVIRA. Sold back to the US in 1903 she was converted to a coal barge and traveled up and down the Atlantic coast before being lost in a gale off Barnegat in 1910.
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