Painting of Sailing Vessel Higginson

The sailing vessel Higginson was built in 1814 in Liverpool, England. It measured 115 feet in length and weighed 453 tons. The vessel was owned by Sir William Barton, George Irlam, and John Higginson. When Barton died in 1826, Irlam and Higginson took up his share. It was active in the Liverpool-West Indies trade from 1814-1839. In 1839 it disappeared from the registry. Humphrey Owen purchased it in February 1848 after its former owners declared bankruptcy. Subsequently, Higginson sailed with W.H. Owens, the owner's son, as master from the Menai Straits to New York with cargos of slate and emigrants. The Welsh American paper, Y Cyfaill noted in 1850 that 150 Welshman arrived in New York on Higginson.
The painting by Samuel Walters shows the Higginson in the Mersey River, arriving at Liverpool, England. It is a harbor scene showing a good view of the city of Liverpool waterfront with churches, municipal buildings, mills and fortifications are shown. Evernton Hill is in the background. A three-part view of the ship shows the Higginson from starboard, astern, and port. The main view is a starboard profile with the sails unfurled. Several other smaller craft can be seen in the harbor.
According to A.S. Davidson in the book Samuel Walters - Marine Painter (1992, p.64), "The convention of successive views relates a progressive furling of sail, and alteration of course, until the vessel finally comes to anchor stemming the incoming tide off the distant Liverpool docks. Identity is possible from the inscription "Higginson-Liverpool" on the stern in the port quarter view, and the Liverpool Code flags, 1, 8, on the foremast.
Miles Walters (1773-1855) was a British tradesman and marine painter. Samuel Walters (1811-1882) under the influence and guidance of his father also became a marine painter. This painting may be a collaborative product of both men.
Currently not on view
Object Name
painting, oil
date made
Walters, Samuel
Walters, Miles
Physical Description
oil on canvas (overall material)
without frame: 27 1/2 in x 44 in; 69.85 cm x 111.76 cm
with frame: 32 in x 47 1/2 in; 81.28 cm x 120.65 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
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