A dynamic ship portrait, with the rare plus that the original canvas has an identifying stencil stamp on the back belonging to the Chinese artist Lai Sung, who performed this skilled commission. The German-built barque crossed paths with the artist in Hong Kong, a few years after its 1853 launching from a Blankenese Yard. She was owned by a consortium, which included American partners, headed by Ole Lindo. DISCUREN sailed internationally, making port in Hong Kong after the Tea Trade was well established, but showing irregularly timed stops in Hamburg, New York, Melbourne, and San Francisco as well in the 1850s and 1860s. The wood barque weighed 298 tons, measuring 125.9' L x 26.5'B x 11.1'D.
Lai Sung is listed in the definitive book of the China Trade by Carl Crossman as an artist who flourished from 1850-1880 as a Chinese ship portraitist whose work is quite scarce. His talent shines in this portrayal of the sharp hulled ship. Named after the singular term for the twin sons of Spartan Queen Leda, Castor and Pollux; one each fathered by Zeus and her husband Tyndarius, known together as the Dioscuri. Mythically, when they ascended, they became the patron gods to travelers and horsemen, especially known for protection of ships from storms. Slightly ironic that the ship crashed in 1868 while under Norwegian ownership and was sold as salvage in Melbourne in 1869, but survived well enough to be rebuilt and continue on as CAROLINE.
Radiating bright afternoon light as the sky as a backdrop to the edge of Hong Kong with Chinese ships at anchor, and the wooden masts, rigs and flags of the barque. A great international portrait of 19th Century merchant ship in action, and the renown port of Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong.
Verso: Original Stencil Stamp on Canvas with Artist's Identity.
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