Inspired by the remarkable D.M. Little painting of 1854 showing the great clipper swung to the tide off Port Philip Head, this remarkable full-hull model depicts the massive ship in perfect order yet clearly occupied by her passengers and crew and in service: she presents an air of activity serenely conducted. In the artist's characteristic use of irony and contrast, her overall sense of calm belies the great ship's speed records, reputation and name. Lightning was designed and built by Donald McKay at East Boston for James Baines & Co. of Liverpool, operators of the “Black Ball Line” of Australia passenger packets. She was launched January 3, 1854 , with measurements of 226' in hull length, 44' in beam, and 23' in draft; registered tonnage, 2,083. Lightning is best remembered for her remarkable run of 436 miles in 245 hours on her maiden passage, reputedly the fastest authenticated day's run ever made by a clipper ship.
Provenance: Model built in 1967; Private Collection, Switzerland
Reference: Ship Models in Miniature, D. McNarry, pp. 128,9; David & Charles, 1975