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Home | Dealers | Vandekar, Paul | British Sailor's Woolwork Picture
British Sailor's Woolwork Picture
Category: Rugs & Tapestries
SubType: Textiles
Origin: England-UK
Era: 19th Century
An Unusual British Sailor's Woolwork Picture Of The Great Eastern Laying A Transatlantic Cable.

This supurb woolwork picture depicts The Great Eastern on a turbulent blue and white sea, against a stylized blue sky in the background. The woolwork was laid upon a printed pattern, possibly a newspaper illustration. The stern of one ship and the bow of another also are in the frame. Inserted into the bottom center is a typed clipping stating: THE GREAT EASTERN LAYING DOWN THE ATLANTIC TELEGRAPH CABLE, -- Sen.

The Great Eastern was the largest steamship in the world in the second half of the 19th century. Launched in 1858, the Great Eastern was unsurpassed in length until White Star's Oceanic II in 1899 and not in displacement until Cunard's Lusitania in 1906. The ship was designed by the British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and constructed for the Eastern Steam Navigation Company. The ship took five years to build, had a displacement of 22,500 tons, a length of 211 meters (693 ft), a width of 37 meters (120 ft), and a depth of hull of 18 meters (58 ft).The iron hull had both screw and paddle wheel propulsion, with auxiliary power from 5435square m (6500 square yd) of sail on six masts. The masts were named after the days of the week (Monday, Tuesday.....) The ship had five funnels, each 100 feet high and 6 feet in diameter. The two paddle wheels were 58 feet in diameter, and the propeller 24 feet.

The Eastern Steam Navigation Company was a British corporation formed in 1852 to maintain an ocean steam route from Great Britain to Australia around the Cape of Good Hope. In 1853 the directors concluded that, because of the cost of maintaining coaling stations on the way, such a route would not pay unless the carrier could carry enough coal for the voyage out and home, besides a large number of passengers and a sizable cargo. The result was the Great Eastern. Despite the elaborate planning for the Great Eastern and the renown it gained because of its size, the vessel did not make a financial success as a passenger vessel. It is best remembered as the ship that laid the first successful Atlantic cable and several other cables. The ship was dismantled in 1889. Brunel built the ship for a side launch. Due to a number of factors, the difficulty of getting the ship from the building ways and into the water became an immense undertaking. The Great Eastern was initially called the "Leviathan".

Great Eastern

(from Britannia.com) steamship considered to be the prototype of the modern ocean liner. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and John Scott Russell for the Eastern Navigation Company to carry cargo and passengers between England and India, it was the largest ship in the world at the time of its launching (1858), displacing 32,160 tons and measuring 692 feet (211 metres) overall. It had a projected speed of 14.5 knots (27 km per hour) and alternate methods of propulsion: two paddle engines, a single screw engine, and sails rigged on six masts. Before launching, the vessel passed to the Great Ship Company, which put it on a New York trade route. The huge cargo holds never were filled to capacity, and in 1864, after years of deficit operation, the ship was sold to the Great Eastern Steamship Company, which used it as a cable vessel until 1874; it was during this time that it laid the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable. Cable laying was interrupted in 1867, when it made a voyage from Liverpool to New York to attract American visitors to the Paris Exhibition. Jules Verne was on this passage and wrote about the ship in his novel Une Ville flottante (1874; The Floating City). It was broken up in 1889.

Circa 1876.

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