As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are temporarily closed. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our website and social media.

Painting, Black Warrior - City of Melbourne

Painting, Black Warrior - City of Melbourne

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Black Warrior was built at Damariscotta, Maine by Austin & Co. in 1853, and was owned by William Wilson and Co. of Baltimore, Maryland. The ship measured 234 feet and 1828 tons.
In 1854 there was a dispute between the U.S and Spain, and Black Warrior was seized by the Spanish in Havana for a customs violation. The case was later resolved and the ship was returned to its owners. The incident produced hope for a small minority who hoped that Cuba might be annexed. In 1862, Black Warrior was sold to James Baines and Co. and renamed the City of Melbourne. In February 1868, the ship suffered a fire while at Williamstown Pier, Port Philip, Australia. It was registered in 1870 to W.T. Heron of Liverpool, and in 1877 was used as a storage hulk at Melbourne.
This painting depicts a dual view of the right profile and rear of the ship. An elevated view shows some of the deck, and a rounded stern, with a second stern view having tacked to enter the harbor. The harbor portrayed in the painting is believed not to be Hong Kong harbor but rather a harbor in Yorkshire. Art Historian A.S. Davidson remarked that while the artist was unknown s/he was probably British, due to the style of the painting.
Currently not on view
Object Name
painting, oil
date made
ca 1853
Physical Description
oil on canvas (overall material)
without frame: 25 1/2 in x 39 in; 64.77 cm x 99.06 cm
with frame: 32 1/2 in x 44 in; 82.55 cm x 111.76 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
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Note: Comment submission on our collection pages is temporarily unavailable. Please check back soon!

If you have a question or require a personal response, please visit our FAQ or contact page.