Painting, Owen Potter

Owen Potter was built by Jonathan Fell, in Workington, county of Cumberland (now Cumbria) in 1850. The ship was purchased by Potter Brothers & Co. It measured 148.8 feet and 780 tons. The Owen Potter was built for trade in the Far East and frequently traveled to Calcutta. The ship went missing in 1857.
The painting is a portside and rear ¾ view of the ship. The ship's location in the painting is the North West Lightship, Liverpool Bay. In the central port profile the pilot jack is in the process of being hoisted to the fore masthead. The houseflag is depicted as a black horse on white ground, which confirms the ship owners as Potter Brothers & Co. Joseph Heard was born in 1799 in Whitehaven, Cumberland. Following a brief stay in London, Heard moved to Liverpool sometime after the mid 1820's. He shared a studio with his brother who painted portraits. Heard became extremely popular second only to Samuel Walters. Joseph died in 1859.
Currently not on view
date made
Heard, Joseph
Physical Description
oil on canvas (overall material)
without frame: 25 in x 35 in; 63.5 cm x 88.9 cm
with frame: 30 1/2 in x 39 3/4 in; 77.47 cm x 100.965 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cigna Maritime Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History


I have a painting of the 'Owen Potter' dated 1854 - crossing the mouth of Cork harbour in Ireland, accompanied by the 'Cork Pilot' ship. It was painted by my ancestor Robert Francis Nepew Banks who commanded the 'Owen Potter' at this time. I have never seen your painting, the two paintings are very alike. I was very interested to see yours.

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