Samuel Walters (British, 1811-1882) The Scotia,
Lot 46
Samuel Walters (British, 1811-1882) The Cunarder Scotia outward bound for New York and passing the Tuskar Rock off the south-eastern tip of Ireland
Sold for £7,500 (US$ 12,606) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Samuel Walters (British, 1811-1882)
The Cunarder Scotia outward bound for New York and passing the Tuskar Rock off the south-eastern tip of Ireland
signed 'S. Walters' and dated 1866 (lower left)
oil on canvas
50 x 84cm (19 11/16 x 33 1/16in).


    London, N R Omell, 'Exhibition of Marine Paintings of the 18th and 19th Century', no. 31.

    A.S. Davidson, Samuel Walters, Marine Artist, Coventry, 1992, pp. 122, 130, 195, 199, 201

    Built by Robert Napier & Sons at Glasgow and launched on 25th June 1861, Scotia was the Cunard Line's last paddler and one of the most beautiful paddle steamers ever to grace the North Atlantic. Designed with two decks and constructed from iron throughout, she measured 397 feet in length with a 48 foot beam and was fitted with her builder's own 4,570ihp. engines to give her a cruising speed of 13½ knots. Registered at 3,871 tons gross (2,125 net), she had ample accommodation for 275 Cabin and 300 Second Class passengers, as well as berths for 440 crew and hold space for 1,050 tons of general cargo. Second only in length to Brunel's colossal Great Eastern, she exceeded all expectations on her trials and entered service to much acclaim in the spring of 1862.

    Clearing Liverpool on her maiden voyage to New York on 19th May 1862 under the command of Captain Judkins, she made a good though not exceptional crossing although much better was to come; in December 1863 she took the 'Blue Riband' for the fastest eastbound passage and then, in July 1866, also established the record for the fastest westbound crossing. It was a tremendous accolade for one ship to hold both records at the same time and undoubtedly brought Cunard a great deal of additional passenger traffic. Withdrawn after her final North Atlantic crossing in April 1876, she was laid up pending sale and, in 1878, was sold for conversion to a twin-screw cable-layer but retaining her original name. After a colourful second career laying submarine telegraph cables across the globe, she ran aground on the Catalan Bank, off Guam, on 11th March 1904, when en route to Honolulu and broke up before she could be salvaged.

    An engraving of the Scotia was produced in 1862 by Currier and Ives (Chas. Parsons lithographer), showing the paddle steamer off Cape Race, throwing overboard the New York Associated Press parcel.
    Walters was very conscious of the demand for relatively cheap fascimiles of popular maritime subject and so also published photographic prints of his own marine paintings, probably holding high hopes that photography would produce a cheaper alternative to lithography. By about 1860, his output of traditional prints dropped to negligable proportions just as photography became a soundly based, thriving business. Apart from offering large copies, usually framed for normal wall display, Walters realised there was a call for small pocket sized photographs or 'cartes de visite'. He produced two 'registered photographic prints' after his paintings of the Scotia; 'The s.s. Scotia, easterly gale, port view, elevated, brig. reefed topsail' and 's.s. Scotia off Cape race, port view, brig. sails stowed (op. cit. p. 198).

    There is a different version of our picture in the Merseyside Maritime Museum showing the vessel off Cape Race, Canada.

    We are grateful to Dr. Sam Davidson for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.
  1. Alistair Laird
    Specialist - Marine Art
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
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