Oil Painting of the Steamship CITY OF SYDNEY, 1877

Oil Painting of the Steamship CITY OF SYDNEY, 1877

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The painting depicts the CITY OF SYDNEY in the harbor at Venice, Italy. It is signed “Stuart 4.77” in the lower left corner. This is almost certainly Scottish-American marine artist and physician Alexander Charles Stuart (1831-1898), who lived and worked in Chester, Pennsylvania. The painting has a hole in the lower left quadrant, with some loss of canvas.
The steamship CITY OF SYDNEY was built in 1875 by John Roach & Sons at Chester, Pennsylvania under contract to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company (PMSC). The PMSC had successfully bid on a United States mail contract between California, Australia and New Zealand, and this vessel was one of a trio of ships built specifically for this service out of San Francisco. The CITY OF SYDNEY was a combined passenger and cargo ship, measuring 339 ft. in length, 40-1/4 ft. in beam and 3,019 tons. It had an advanced compound steam engine for propulsion. After the mail contract with the PMSC expired, the vessel transported cargo and passengers between San Francisco and Panama. It was sold in 1916 to the Bristol Bay Packing Company and converted to a six-masted barkentine for trade to Alaska. In 1919, it was reported traveling again to Australia but was later abandoned and burned for scrap metal in 1930.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Chester
frame: 19 5/8 in x 29 3/4 in; 49.8602 cm x 75.565 cm
inside frame: 15 1/4 in x 25 3/8 in; 38.735 cm x 64.4652 cm
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accession number
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Work and Industry: Maritime
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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