Golden Fleece under tow down the Mersey and heading for the open sea signed and dated 'Stanfield Moore 92' (lower left) oil on canvas 51 x 76cm (20 1/16 x 29 15/16in).
EXHIBITED: London, N R Omell, 'Exhibition of 19th Century London and it's Environs', no. 16.
Built for Carmichael's of Greenock by Barclay, Curle & Co. at Glasgow in 1869, Golden Fleece was widely regarded as one of the most beautiful iron clippers ever to grace the world's oceans. So wide was this admiration that Thomas Ismay, the founder of the famous White Star Shipping Line, declared that she was "the handsomest sailing ship he had ever seen" when he first spotted her lying in the Mersey one morning as he made his way in to his Liverpool offices. Had Golden Fleece survived into old age she might well have emulated the sort of fame which two others vessel launched the same year as her went on to achieve but, sadly, she was lost young when compared to the celebrated Cutty Sark and the almost as well known Norman Court.
Registered in Greenock at 1,318 tons gross (1,257 net), her dimensions were curiously identical to those of Noah's Ark, namely 223 feet in length with a 37 foot beam, but she soon proved far faster than her fabled biblical forebear. Setting new records on whichever ocean she sailed, some of her more memorable passages included London to Sydney in 72 days in 1871, New York to Liverpool in a remarkable 13 days in 1874, Liverpool to Calcutta in 77 days in 1880, and San Francisco to Queenstown (Ireland) in 104 days in 1884. Beloved by all who sailed in her, her working life was brought to a premature end when, on 27th December 1885, she ran aground and was wrecked on Fly Island, near the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.