Label Text: It was the need for speed that drove the design of America’s famed clipper ships. When it was launched in October 1853, the Great Republic was the largest wooden clipper ship ever constructed. The famed vessel burned to its waterline while awaiting loading of its first cargo. After being salvaged and rebuilt, the ship earned a reputation for speed, including traveling a record-setting 413 nautical miles (475 miles) in a single day.
“Portraits” of well-known vessels were a popular subject for painters. William Gay Yorke spent his early life as a shipwright, painting in his spare time. By his 30s, he was successful enough to give up his trade and paint full-time. Yorke’s understanding of ships enabled him to create meticulously accurate ship portraits.