Painting, Collier Brig Morton

The Morton was built in 1825 by John Scott (1775-1842) in Whitehaven, England. It measured 72 feet 7 inches long and 152 tons. Ownership of Morton was divided into 64 shares. Isaac Bell held the most with 12/64. Documents show that William Bell, Isaac's brother, was made master of the ship from 1825 until his death in 1834. Other sources indicate that Thomas Kelly commanded the ship; this probably occurred after W. Bell's death. The Morton wrecked off Cape Breton in 1849. The painting shows the port side of the ship as it is entering the harbor with all of its sails set. Several other ships can be seen in the distance and seagulls are flying in the foreground. It is flying a flag on the foremast displaying the number 979. According to British marine painting authority A.S. Davidson in his book Marine Art and Liverpool, this probably indicates the master's membership number to a local Shipmasters Association. Membership benefits to such an organization included mutual help at sea and foreign ports, and allowances for dependents. British painter Joseph Heard (1799-1859) was known for his marine-themed paintings in the Romantic style. Born in Whitehaven, Cumberland, England he is believed to have received some lessons from a local portrait painter, John Clementson as a young man. He lived in London briefly in the mid-1820s, then moved to Whitehaven in 1826 and decided to pursue marine painting full time. In 1834, he and his brother Isaac, also a painter, moved to Liverpool where they shared a studio. Though eclipsed in popularity by Liverpool's other resident marine painter, Samuel Walters, Joseph Heard was successful as a marine artist. He remained in Liverpool until his death at age 60 in 1859.
Currently not on view
Object Name
painting, oil
date made
ca 1830-1840
Heard, Joseph
Physical Description
oil on canvas (overall material)
without frame: 28 in x 36 in; 71.12 cm x 91.44 cm
with frame: 33 1/2 in x 41 1/4 in; 85.09 cm x 104.775 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Cigna Maritime Collection
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cigna Maritime Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
Additional Media

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