Smart and sailing into the Straight of Dover, the Transatlantic Packet Liner BYZANTIUM of the New Line arrives in the Southeast British Coast to bring her passengers and cargoes to the Island Empire. Flying her owners’, Dunham & Co, house flag of their “New Line” of Atlantic packet ships, the Company was actually the third such line to carry this designation. Their partner in London, Charles Gumm, was a bit more successful even in this later stage of transatlantic liners in contracting passengers and cargoes bound for America.
The 1048-ton BYZANTIUM had served prior to the 1860s for the Brigham Line sailing between New York, New Orleans and Natchez, and for the short-lived Eastern Line of New York of Songey, Smith & Co. in 1858 to Liverpool. Throughout it all, she was captained by one gentleman: American W.R. Hilton, who remained a principle partner in all aspects of the ship. It is Hilton seen stalking the quarter deck near the rail, along with numerous passengers and crew in this painting. The work has the tight deck detail that is signature of Frederick Tudgay. It is also most likely that Captain Hilton was the direct commissioner of this painting from the artist.
American ships Packets dominated the Transatlantic Trade from 1818 until the Civil War, and it was with the American Ships and owners that the Tudgay family found most of their commissions. Fully developed stylistically, this full-rigged ship portrait is raked back with speed, most sails employed in coming round to port, shown in the two positions on approach. A very detailed and strong view, complete with its Middle Eastern monarch figurehead, of a Transatlantic American Packet ship.
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