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East Boston

365 Bremen Street, East Boston, MA 02128
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Branch Librarian: Margaret Kelly

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SHIPS THROUGH THE AGES
FREDERICK LEONARD KING (American, 1879-1947)

Installed in the Jeffries Point branch in 1935

The information below is primarily taken from a Boston Public Library report of 1935, and a Fine Art Appraisal Report, by Edward M. Stanley, Appraiser, 2009.

Frederick Leonard King was a maritime oil painter, illustrator, writer, teacher and lecturer. He lived in Rockport, Massachusetts a great deal of his life.

King trained at the Art Students League in New York City, as well as the Pratt Institute of Art. He was a member of the Salmugundi Club, the North Shore Art Association, the Rockport Association and the Copley Society.

He exhibited at a number places, and his work included installations at the Shawmut Bank in Boston, the Boston Public Library, and the Tewsbury Hospital.

Titles in BOLD, 15 paintings, are still in the series. The remaining five of the original 20 in the series were lost in a move from one branch library building to another.


1. Viking Ship

1st century.

The picture is from the Oseberg ship, built circa 820, now located in The Viking Museum, Oslo, Norway.

In such a ship as this the Norsemen sailed across from Scandinavia and made their raids on the coats of England, Scotland and Ireland. One of the most daring of the Vikings, Leif Ericson, is said to have reached the shores of North America hundreds of years before Columbus was born. These vessels were rowed by men and steered by a large oar at the right side.


2. Cog (Missing)

12th century (From an old manuscript). The cog was a kind of early ship, broad, with bluff prow and stern, sometimes used as a fishing boat. This type was used by Madoc of Wales in his legendary trip to America to establish a colony in Alabama.


3. Great Carrack, Spanish Caravel, Galleass

15th and 16th century. Left to right.

Great Carrack, 6th century, (From a contemporary print by “W.A.”).

The word “carrack” was in common usage in every European language during this period. The Portuguese, who seem to have been originators of this type of vessel, spelled it “carraca”, which comes nearest to its original meaning – a ship that could carry heavy burdens or a treasure ship. Vasco daGamma commanded a fleet of carracks in his expedition eastward in search of the East Indies.

Spanish Caravel, 15th century, (From an old print).

Both the ships used by Columbus, the “Nina” and the “Pinta”, were originally caravels bearing three tiny masts with lateen sails. They were in reality small fishing smacks that would never have been able to stand the long trip between Spain and the West Indies had it not been for the help of the Gulf Stream and the west wind drive.

Galleass, 16th century.

The galleass was developed from the large merchant gallery, was higher and larger than the latter and had up to 32 oars, each worked by five men. It usually had three masts, a forecastle and aftcastle. The galleass carried more sails than a true galley, and it exemplified an intermediate vessel type between the galley and the true man-of-war.


4. Pirate Dhow, Spanish or Venetian Galley, Spanish Galleon

Left to right.

The picture is from the Oseberg ship, built circa 820, now located in The Viking Museum, Oslo, Norway.

Pirate Dhow, 16th Century, (From a model in the Spanish Naval Museum).

This is a typical dhow, a grab-built, lateen-rigged vessel of Arabia, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. It has the usual long overhand forward, high poop deck and open waist. The dhow was notorious in the slave trade on the east coast of Africa, and even after a thousand years is still one of the swiftest of sailing crafts.

These old galleys appeared very gay with their flags flying and with the beautifully carved ornaments that covered the poop deck and the stern. The story, however, of the gallery slaves and their wretched life of imprisonment makes them seem more like floating infernos. The galleys were often a substitute for the gallows and they were used as a life-long punishment for even the most trivial offenses.

Spanish or Venetian Galleon, 16th century, (From an old print).

Galleons were usually treasure ships, and great tales of romance are attached to the names of those old vessels. Stories of irate and wild adventure follow in their wake.


5. Magellan’s Ship – “Victoria”

16th century, (From a contemporary manuscript).

In this ship, Ferdinand Magellan started upon a great and eventful expedition. He discovered the straits which bear his name, and crossed the broad Pacific. Although Magellan himself was killed in the Philippines, one of his crew continued to Spain, thus completing in the “Victoria” the first circumnavation of the globe.


6. The Ship of Romance – “Great Harry”

16th century, (From a painting).

Built by King Henry VIII, this vessel was of more than a thousand tons burden and it carried 34 large guns and a vast armament of smaller guns. It was called “Great Harry” which served as a pattern for all the naval engineers of the next hundred and fifty years. In the background of the painting is the “Mary Rose”, the “ship of the cloth of gold”.


7. Dreadnought – “The Sovereign of the Seas”, Ketch, Drake’s Ship – “Golden Hind”

Left to right.

Dreadnought – “The Sovereign of the Seas,” (From a British Naval print).

“The most splendid of them all.” Dreadnoughts were war vessels. The ship was built in 1637 by Charles I, the dreadnought Sovereign might easily have been a contemporary of the “Great Harry”.

Ketch, 17th century, (From print and model).

The ketch was a fore-and-aft rigged vessel with main mast and small mizzen set forward of the rudder post. Square sails were used.

Drake’s Ship – “Golden Hind,” 16th century, (From a British Naval print).

When Drake started out upon his famous voyage around the world in the year 1577, all he had was a vessel not larger than the Santa Maria of almost a century before. It was called, poetically enough, the Golden Hind, but it was in reality only a hundred-ton, three-master with just enough men to handle her.


8. The “Mayflower” and the “Arabella” (Missing)

17th century, (From a British print and model at Salem, MA)

The Mayflower took the Pilgrim Fathers from Southampton, England to Massachusetts between September 6, 1620 – November 9, 1620. The voyage took over two months because of storms. It was only about 180 tons as compared with the 56,000 ton of the White Star liner “Majestic”. There were 102 passengers on board.

The Arabella was the flagship of the Winthrop fleet on which, between April 8 and June 12, 1630, Governor John Winthrop and Puritan emigrants transported themselves and the Charter of Massachusetts Bay Company from England to Salem, thereby giving legal birth to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. John Winthrop is reputed to have given the famous “A Model of Christian Charity” sermon aboard the ship. Also on board was the first European female poet to be published in the New World, Anne Bradstreet and her family. The ship was named in honor of Lady Arabella, who was also a passenger.


9. The Old “Hollandia”, Schooner, Henrick Hudson’s “Half Moon”

Left to right.

The Old “Hollandia,” 17th century, (Heavily armed Dutch frigate from Dutch model).

This ship was built during Holland’s naval supremacy of the 17th century. Like many Dutch vessels it was superior to those of other nations in two important details: it had larger cargo space and it could be handled by a much smaller number of men. This ship was the type used by Peter Sturyesant.

Schooner, 17th century, (From a Dutch painting).

This picture represents the early schooner type of vessel which had two masts, rigged fore and aft.

Hendrik Hudson’s Half Moon, 17th century, (From an old Dutch model).

This was one of the many ships that were used in an attempt to find a short cut to China by a westerly route. Hudson, an English captain employed by the Dutch, undertook the voyage in 1609. He sailed up the Hudson River in September of the same year, and this river was later named for him. He had to give up the idea that he had discovered the much-sought after passage to the Orient.


10. La Salle’s “Griffon” (Missing)

17th century.

This vessel is of interest because it was one of the first to be built on the Great Lakes. La Salle used her for exploring and trading.


11. John Paul Jones’ “Bon Homme Richard” (Missing)

18th century, (From a print of an early ship).

John Paul Jones is the father of the United States Navy. The vessel in this picture was a converted East India merchant ship, too old and battered to stand heavy usage. During the great naval battle of Flamborough in 1779 which made John Paul Jones famous by uttering “I have not yet begun to fight!” her sides were literally blown out. She went down as a victor.


12. “Old Salem Bark, Brig “Sommers”, Topsail Schooner “Enterprise”

Left to right, 19th century, (From an old print).

Old Salem Bark.

The bark was a typical packet of the era between the War of 1812 and the day of the clipper ship.

Brig “Sommers,” 19th century, (From a contemporary wood-cut).

A ship that has only two masts, both square rigged, is a brig, a type of vessel that is now extinct. At one time it was a very popular type for a small coasting vessels and was used for coal-carrying up to as late as the nineteenth century. The name “brig” is really an abbreviated form of “brigatine”. The name brigatine Originated in the Mediterranean, where it was applied to a small vessel, lateen-rigged, but intended mainly for rowing.

Topsail Schooner – “Enterprise,” 19th century, (From an old print).

The “Enterprise” was “a little ship with a great record”. It was familiar type of coasting vessel of 470 tons. It make the passage from London to Calcutta via the Cape in 113 days.


13. Frigates “Constitution” and “Boston”

Left to right, 19th century, (From an old print).

Frigate “Boston.”

The Boston was launched in 1776 in Newburyport, MA. The funding came in part from James Perkins who also gave a building to house the Boston Athenaeum. In 1778 she carried John Adams to France. The ship rendered distinguished service in the war with France in 1799, and also captured a number of British vessels.

Frigate “Constitution.”

Old Ironsides, as the Constitution is affectionately called because of her wooden walls were so hard to pierce, was launched at the Boston Navy Yard in 1797. She carried 52 guns and was considered the finest example of ship-building of the day. She was used during the War of 1812.

The Constitution is still afloat in Boston Harbor. She is berthed at Pier I of the former Charlestown Navy Yard, at one end of Boston’s Freedom Trail, and is open to the public year round.


14. Yacht “America”, Ships of the Line – “Pennsylvania” and “Cumberland”

Left to right.

Yacht “America,” 19th century, (From the boat and old print).

The sailing yacht is the blue ribbon craft of the sea, and American yachts have never failed in the supremacy that was first won by the schooner yacht America in English waters in 1851. Since then a long line of schooner and sloop-rigged yachts have defeated the pick of the English yards in their vain effort to lift the historic “America’s Cup”. The “America” set a record for speed early in her career when she crossed the Atlantic to Havre, France in 17 ½ days.

Ships of the Line – “Pennsylvania” and “Cumberland,” 19th century, (From a sketch of the hull about 1898, rigging from sail plan).

A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through to the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would maneuver to bring the greatest weight of broadside firepower to bear. Since these engagements were almost invariably won by the heaviest ships carrying the most powerful guns, the natural progression was to build sailing vessels that were the largest and most powerful of their time.

It was the appearance of this type of vessel that finally broke the power of the famous Barbary pirates of North Africa, who sailed from Algiers, Tripoli and Tunis exacting great tribute from all nations.


15. Robert Fulton’s “Clermont”

19th century, (From a replica at Hudson-Fulton Exposition).

In the year 1807 the Clermont, named after the country home of a friend of Fulton’s, proceeded from New York to Albany under its own steam, a distance of 150 miles in 30 hours.

Fulton’s Clermont was not the first steam boat. In 1785 John Fitch of South Windsor, Connecticut completed a small steam boat which made a successful trip on the Delaware River in 1787. He also built several larger steamships, one of which ran as a passenger boat between Philadelphia and Trenton in the summer of 1790. The United States Congress officially recognized John Fitch in 1926 when it appropriated $15,000 to build a memorial to him at Bardstown, Kentucky, where he died in 1798.


16. Junk

Characteristic vessel of Chinese waters, (From a painting).

This characteristic vessel of Chinese and neighboring waters has bluff lines, very high poop and overhanging stem, little or no keel, and high masts carrying big sails.


17. The Dreadnought, The Clipper “Flying Cloud”, Old New Bedford Whaler

Left to right.

The Dreadnought, 19th century, (From her best known painting).

This vessel was a fore-runner of modern armored warship. The Dreadnought was the queen of the clipper fleet and was commanded by Captain Samuel Samuels of the American merchant marine. Her record was 9 days and 17 hours in the 2,760 mile run from Sandy Hook, New Jersey to Queenstown, New Zealand.

The Clipper Ship Flying Cloud, 19th century, (From a contemporary painting).

Note: The clipper was a very fast-sailing 19th century vessel with multiple masts and a square rig. They were generally narrow for their length, could carry limited bulk freight – small by later 19th century standards – and had a large total sail area. Clipper ships were primarily made in British and American shipyards and sailed all over the world, mostly in trans-Atlantic trade, on the trade routes between the United Kingdom and its colonies in the east, and the New York-to- San Francisco route via Cape Horn.

The Flying Cloud was built in 1851 by Donald McKay for Enoch Train’s Line in East Boston. On her maiden voyage, the Flying Cloud broke all speed records for the passage from New York City around Cape Horn to San Francisco, the record time being 89 days, 21 hours. On this voyage the captain was Joshua Creesy. His wife, Eleanor, was the navigator. This passage meant a reduction of form 1/3 to ½ the time that formerly had been required for this trip. The Flying Cloud’s initial speed record brought immediate worldwide fame to East Boston and the clipper ships built there by Donald McKay.

In 1874 the Flying Cloud went ashore on the Beacon Island bar off St. John’s Newfoundland, and was condemned and sold. Soon after she was burned for the scrap metal value of her cooper and metal fastenings.

Old Bedford Whaler, 19th century, (From a photograph and sketches).

New Bedford, Massachusetts became the center of American whaling and it is from this port that whalers first ventured into the Pacific in search of whales. The whaling vessels were usually of 300 to 500 tons, and were fitted with windlasses for raising the blubber, boilers for “trying” it, and tanks or barrels for holding it all.


18. Clipper Ship, Governor Ames, Gertrude L. Thebaud, The Last American Square-Rigger – Tusitala

Left to right.

The Clipper Ship, (behind the Governor Ames).

Governor Ames, Five-masted schooner, (Sketched from the ship about 1910).

The Governor Ames was launched in 1888 and was the world’s largest cargo vessel in the late 19th century. Used in the lumber and coal trade, in 1909 the ship was wrecked in a gale off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Gertrude L. Theband, (Sketched off Cape Ann).

A modern American fisherman type of boat, a two-masted schooner built for sturdiness and swiftness. It can be manned by a very small crew.

Built in 1930, the Gerald L. Theband was the last of the Gloucester-built Grand Banks fishing schooners. She ended her days in the 1940s as a cargo vessel in the Caribbean, and in 1948 she was driven onto a breakwater at La Guaira, Venezuela, and broke up.

The Last American Square-Rigger “Tusitala,” 19th century, (Sketched from the ship itself).

Tusitala is the last of the great-square riggers to fly the stars and stripe. In 1935 her owner sailed her at a loss rather than see the last American deep-sea windjammer disappear from the seas.

Most of the few square-rigged four-masters that were still afloat that time were owned and manned by Scandinavians who were for the most part the descendants of the Vikings.

The Tusitala was built in 1883 and operated as a merchant vessel. In 1923 the ship was purchased by United States Steel Corporation president James A. Farell and continued to used as a trading vessel. It because a training ship for merchant seamen in 1940 and was decommissioned in 1942.


19. Modern Grain Ship (Missing)

(Sketched at sea).

This ship is over one thousand feet long, her engines are 200,000 horsepower. It is said the first Cunarder, together with Columbus’ entire fleet, could be placed in one of her assembly rooms.


20. Ultra-Modern Liner “Queen Mary”

(From the ship).

This liner was launched from Clydebank, England in September, 1936. It is a mammoth ship whose cost was $4,500,000. It was a Cunard-White Star Liner, and as such, would have been expected to be called by a name ending in “ia”. Its owners, however, departed from their custom in order to honor the queen of England at that time.

The RMS Queen Mary sailed the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936-1967 for the Cunard-White Line. At the beginning of World War II she was retrofitted in East Boston to serve as a troop carrier. The ship retired from service in 1967 and is now permanently berthed in Long Beach, California, serving as a museum ship and hotel. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.