This painting depicts the three-masted clipper ship WILD RANGER in rough seas as it passes the Eddystone Lighthouse in South England. All the ships sails are unfurled and it displays an American flag and five signal flags. This ship conducted trade between America and Australia during 1857 and 1860.
The era of the clipper ships was dominated by a sense of romance, competition, national pride and innovative technology. The sleek and graceful ships were a symbol of modernity in America and a fundamental part of the expanding global economy. Their design concentrated on speed instead of cargo capacity, a great benefit to shipping companies eager to transport goods quickly.
The WILD RANGER was a 1044 ton clipper ship built by J O Curtis at Medford, Massachusetts in 1853. It made a number of journeys from America to Sydney and Melbourne between 1857- 1860, before being renamed OCEAN CHIEF in 1862. The vessel foundered off Australia’s coast in 1872. It is claimed the crew wanted to abandon the ship for the gold fields and exacerbated its destruction by boring holes in the pumps.
ANMM Collection Reproduced courtesy of the Australian National Maritime Museum
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