Oil paintings, Fine art

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The steamship Great Eastern in a choppy sea

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art
Gallery locationNot on display
VesselsGreat Eastern (1858)

Object details:

Object ID BHC3383
Description At a time when the largest ships afloat were under 5,000 tons, Great Eastern had a designed tonnage of 18,914. Like the 'Great Western' and 'Great Britain' before her, the 'Great Eastern' was a one-off. There was nothing else like her in the world. Yet she was considered a commercial failure, ending her career as a floating billboard before being scrapped in 1888. The artist, henry Clifford (d. 1905), was a second engineer on the 'Great Eastern' anda cousin by marriage of Charles Tilston Bright, one of the pioneers of early cable laying. He painted numerous oils of the ship, this one showing it approaching Heart's Content, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, on completion of the successful laying of the transatlantic cable in 1866. It is reproduced in Bright's son Charles's book, 'Submarine Telegraphs: Their History, Construction, and Working' (1898). As in other views of the period the ship's fourth funnel (that immediately aft of the third mast) is missing, having been removed in her 1864 conversion to cable-laying and replaced by a cable tank.
Date made Mid 19th century

Artist/Maker Clifford, Henry
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 685 mm x 915 mm; Frame: 815 mm x 1120 mm
  • The steamship Great Eastern in a choppy sea (BHC3383)
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