The American Clipper Great Admiral cracking along signed 'Henry Scott' (lower right), bears inscription on reverse oil on canvas 101.6 x 127cm (40 x 50in).
The medium clipper Great Admiral was ordered by William F. Weld & Co. of Boston, designed by Constructor W.H. Varney, USN, and launched from Robert E. Jackson's yard at East Boston on 10th April 1869. Registered at 1,497 tons (net) and measuring 216 feet in length with a 40 foot beam, she was built "in the strongest manner and of the best materials" and, until the launching of the South American in 1876, was considered "the finest wooden merchant ship afloat and the centre of admiration in every port she visited." Named in honour of Admiral David Farragut, the Civil War naval hero, already commonly referred to as the 'Great Admiral', she was owned by Welds for almost thirty years during which time she enjoyed a relatively charmed life with no mishaps of any consequence. Although she broke no records herself, she proved extremely fast and several of her most notable passages came within a hair's breadth of beating the fastest times ever recorded on those particular routes. Amongst her best runs were New York to San Francisco in 111 days, Hong Kong to San Francisco in 38 days, New York to Melbourne in 73 days and Sydney to London in 90 days, as well as numerous others during her long and successful career.
When finally sold by Welds in March 1897, she had sailed 726, 968 miles under their colours and yet, when inspected prior to sale, her timbers were found to be in first-class condition. Purchased by Captain E.R. Sterling for $12,500, he put his new vessel into the tough Pacific coal and timber trade where she survived another nine years until wrecked by a tremendous storm on 7th December 1906 when en route from Port Townsend, Washington State to San Pedro, California carrying a full cargo of timber. Fortunately all aboard were saved by the providential arrival on the scene of the iron full-rigger Barcore of Liverpool.