The Black "X" Line packet Devonshire off the North Foreland signed and dated lower left "S. Walters 1850" oil on canvas 28-1/4 x 43 in. (71.7 x 109.2 cm.)
The Griswold's Black X Line was headquartered in New York, was founded by John Griswold in 1823, and ran between New York and London. It was called the Black X as the ships carried a house flag with a black "X" on a red background. Not only the Griswold family, but the Hovey family were prominent figure in the success of the line, especiall Captain Henry Russell Hovey (1816-1871) who commanded the Devonshire as one of a long list of commands of commercial vessels during his career.
From the New York Times, April 4th 1861: "ANOTHER TEMPESTUOUS VOYAGE. -- The ship Devonshire, of the Black X line of packets, Captain ANDERSON, which sailed from London on the 10th of February last, arrived here on Friday evening, after a very stormy and severe passage of forty-one days. The first and second cabin and steerage passengers, previous to their landing, presented Captain ANDERSON with a vote of thanks for his kind and gentlemanly treatment towards them throughout the whole of the passage. Many of the passengers had crossed the Western ocean before, and they stated that it had never been their misfortune to experience such a succession of heavy gales, nor their good luck to be under the care of so skillful a commander."