Classic Works of Art, Marine and Seascape Paintings - BRIAN COOLE (UK, 1939 - ), The 'Challenge'

BRIAN COOLE (UK, 1939 - ) 
oil on canvas, 
signed lower right
titled at bottom,
21 1/4" x 27 1/4"
Built in 1851 by William H. Webb of Boston 

Challenge. As a challenge to the 'Flying Cloud' on the San Francisco run, she was 224' long, 2000 tons, with a 230' main mast and 12,780 yards of sail, was wrecked off Ushant at the French end of the English Channel in 1876.

Challenge, 1851, was an extreme clipper built by William H. Webb in NYC for the San Francisco run. 230' mainmast, 224' length, 2000 tons, 12,780 yards of sail. Captain Robert Waterman expected to beat Flying Cloud. Brutal treatment of inexperienced crew by Waterman and first mate James Douglass caused riots when San Franciscans heard of the first passage. Wrecked off Ushant, 1876.

Flying Cloud was a clipper ship that set the world's sailing record for the fastest passage between New York and San Francisco, 89 days 8 hours. The ship held this record for over 100 years, from 1854 to 1989.

Flying Cloud was the most famous of the clippers built by Donald McKay. She was known for her extremely close race with Hornet in 1853; for having a woman navigator, Eleanor Creesy, wife of Josiah Perkins Creesy who skippered Flying Cloud on two record-setting voyages from New York to San Francisco; and for sailing in the Australia and timber trades.

Although Brian Coole, is entirely self-taught, his ship paintings have been compared to the ship paintings of Fitz Hugh Lane, a renowned 19th century American artist who is best known for his Marine themed works and ship ‘portraits’. In 2001 Brian Coole was commissioned to paint three ship portraits for the British Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, UK.

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