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Summer Fine Art and Antique Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 9, 2022 09:00AM EDT
Lot 180

Earl E. Collins O/C Marine Painting, Lightning Clipper at Sea

Estimate: $800 - $1,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
Earl Edward Collins (Connecticut/New York, 1925-1992) oil on canvas maritime painting depicting the clipper ship "Lightning" sailing across tumultuous waters, an American flag visible at the stern. Signed and dated "Earl Collins '82" lower right. Handwritten index card with history of the Lightning en verso of frame. Housed in a metallic silver wooden frame with off white linen liner and metallic silver wood fillet. Sight: 19 1/2" H x 23 1/2" W. Framed: 25 1/2" H x 29 1/2" W. Note: "Built by Donald McKay, the Lightning was the first clipper built in the United States for a British firm. In 1862, returning to Liverpool, it struck an uncharted rock in Rip. No water entered the vessel but, on arrival at Liverpool, a rock 6 feet long was found sticking through its timbers and beginning to work loose. Under Capt. 'Bully' Forbes, the Lightning made its first voyage to Australia in 77 days, and on its return voyage made it in a record 64 days. It had the distinction of carrying, free of charge, early consignments of introduced animals, including rabbits, sent to Thomas Austin of Barwon Park, Winchelsea. The Lightning's entire life was spent on the Australian run carrying immigrants and cargo. The wreck of the Lightning caused by the fire was the worst shipping calamity in Geelong's history. A fire that had broken out was discovered at about 1 am. Water was pumped into lower hold in an attempt to douse it but the efforts of local volunteer fire brigades were unsuccessful. The blazing ship was towed away from the Yarra Street Wharf by James Deane's tug Resolute. Attempts to scuttle the vessel by boring holes and cutting the outside planking also failed. The Volunteer Artillery had also been unsuccessful in attempts to sink the vessel to put out the fire. The wreck was finally removed with explosives. The Lightning finally sank at about 6 pm., her location about 200 yards from Wharf in 25 feet of water. Geelong's Centenary celebrations included a re-enactment of burning of Lightning." (adapted from Heritage Council Victoria, Victorian Heritage Database:


Overall very good condition.