This large example of Chinese Export painting is an excellent portrait of the American Clipper EAGLE WING, built by James O. Curtis at Medford, Massachusetts in 1853. As well as the nicely rendered clipper, this image provides an interesting look at the topography, architecture and international shipping found at Hong Kong in the mid-Nineteenth Century.
Of interesting note is the American merchant ship seen just beneath EAGLE WING’s bowsprit. The red and white house flag on her mainmast is the private signal of the merchant shipping firm; Farnham and Co. of Salem, Massachusetts. A name pennant, unidentifiable, flies at the mizzen truck. Off this vessel's bow a British side wheeler wears the code signal "P" on her foremast as a pilot request to depart the harbor. Offshore is a British warship, her commissioning pennant seen as a thin wisp at the top of her mainmast.
On the reverse of this “China Trade” painting is a typewritten label inscribed with names of the ship's owners, builder and master, along with her dimensions, fate (lost with all hands in 1865), and a list of the many sailing records she set. This painting is accompanied by a very rare clipper ship card, announcing a Sept. 1st voyage to San Francisco from New York for the extreme clipper.
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