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Britain, 1811-1882

The Liverpool paddlewheel steam tug United States.

Signed and dated lower left "S. Walters 1858".
Oil on canvas, 28" x 42". Framed 34.5" x 48.5".
Condition: Relined. Not examined under UV light.

  • Provenance:
    Vallejo Gallery, Newport Beach, California, 1998.
    The Kelton Collection of Marine Art & Artifacts.

    The iron-hulled paddle tug
    United States , built at Newcastle in 1857, was owned by the United Steam Tug Co. of Liverpool. Her dual-stack steam engines had an output of 130 horsepower. Even though the last British paddlewheel vessel, Cunard Scotia , was built in 1865, the tug United States was still in active service in 1883. This is one of five tugs that enabled the United Steam Tug Company Ltd. to maintain service in Liverpool Bay in all but the most extreme conditions.

    In the condition portrayed, the master is taking no chances. A full head of steam is available in both boilers, indicated by smoke from each funnel and a wisp of steam escaping from their adjacent steam pipes.

    According to Samuel Davidson, the handling of the sea and stormy sky is unmistakably that of Samuel Walters at his most mature. This painting is likely a commission from the vessel's captain.

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