© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London | Licence: CC BY-NC-ND
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London | Licence: CC BY-NC-ND

Clipper Ship 'Blackadder' at sea with foremast and mainmast broken

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From the Collection


Signed by the artist and dated. 'Blackadder' was a 917-ton iron-hulled clipper launched on 1 February 1870 by Maudslay, Sons & Field from their yard at Bay Wharf, Greenwich, for John 'White Hat' Willis, a year after completion of the 'Cutty Sark' for him at Dumbarton. He also ordered her sister 'Hallowe'en' from Maudslay's (their shipyard now being part of the Alcatel site at North Greenwich). 'Blackadder' was dismasted on her maiden voyage due to failures in the mast fittings and rigging but reachd the Cape under jury rig after 63 days. Willis took legal action against the builders and this dragged on with the result that 'Hallowe'en' was only delivered nearly 18 months after her launch. After Willis died in 1900, 'Blackadder' was bought by J. Aalborg of Kragerø in Norway and was wrecked while on passage from Barry to Bahia loaded with coal on 5 November 1905. The Wikipedia entry on the ship, on which this note is based, reproduces this image as from the John Oxley Library (State Library of Queensland) - probably from an old black and white photograph of it - and says it shows 'Blackaadder' as a barque. That is not the case though she may well have been later rigged as one. If the dismasting shown is that of her initial voyage the picture is very retrospective given its 1895 date.

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© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

From the Watercolour World


South China Sea