A champion by any and all measures, this ship portrait by the 19th century's famous American marine artist features an outstanding subject of the clipper era, FLYING FISH. Painted on a direct commission by her owners, Sampson & Tappan of Boston, Buttersworth portrays her presence with the majesty she earned and deserves.
FLYING FISH completed seven westward Cape Horn passages to California, the most of any of the extreme clippers built by Donald McKay. Her record passage, 92 days and 4 hours, from Oct. 31, 1852 to Jan. 31, 1853, transpired while victorious in competition in what was to become known as the "Great Deep-Sea Derby". FLYING FISH outsailed fourteen other clippers which left that season. Only three clippers made four faster runs around the horn, with the McKay-built FLYING CLOUD holding two of those records. FLYING FISH's average voyage equates to a very fast 105.6 days, better than FLYING CLOUD and every other 1850s clipper.
Exact rigging lines, the gold and green fish figurehead, the gilded name on the bow, the working crew, including Captain Edward Nickels standing on the quarter deck: every element is given a precise attention from Buttersworth brush. The presence of the other six clippers, including one flying the house flag before FLYING FISH's bow, make it certain that this commission was sponsored in commemoration of the derby victory for FLYING FISH. A historically important American work of great artistic merit.
The painting is in its original period frame which has been regilded.
The hand written original log includes voyages:
November 1851-February 1852: Boston to San Francisco with an account of the following month in port in San Francisco
March 1852-May 1852: San Francisco to Manila, Philippines with an account of a few weeks in port in Manila
May 1852-September 1852: Manila to New York
Transfer from another ship's log- August 1853-August 1853: Manila to Boston, incomplete account
October 1856-January 1857: Boston to San Francisco, some dates with no log entry.
Some interesting log entries include: foul weather that required repairs including the loss of the rudder at one point; sickness of the crew particularly after, as the log keeper put it, "folly" while in port, many sightings of other ships and landmarks, a man lost overboard, etc.
Logbook measures 15 3/4 x 10 3/8 x 1 inches.
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