Clipper ships were the backbone of maritime trade in the 19th century. This painting depicts three American vessels, the LIGHTNING, JAMES BAINES and RED JACKET in Hobson's Bay, with a view of Port Melbourne in the background. Rivalry between the shipping companies who owned RED JACKET and LIGHTNING was fierce, with large sums of money being waged on which vessel was the fastest.


  • Title: The RED JACKET in Hobson's Bay
  • Creator: Captain Thomas Robertson
  • Date: 1856/1857
  • Type: Painting
  • Significance: This is a particularly beautiful depiction of three famous clipper ships, all known to have set time records on their journeys and been involved with trade in Australia. It indicates the high maritime traffic in Australia and competition between shipping lines generated by 19th century trade and economics.
  • See institution's online collections: http://www.anmm.gov.au/collections
  • Medium: Oil on canvas, glazed, in gilt frame
  • Dimensions: 1256 x 1862 x 110 mm
  • Credit line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds

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