In Port Jackson McNarry captures the awe-inspiring might and majesty of the four-masted iron-hulled sailing ships of the late nineteenth and early 20 th centuries. Unlike most of the genre, however, which presented a squared-off appearance with their masts of equal lengths, Port Jackson 's were of differing heights. The resulting visual composition of this vessel fascinated the artist, and, using this subtle difference in mast height from bow to stem, he creates here the delicate suggestion of an overall oval shape, formed as the eye traces the ship's outermost points and then follows an imaginary arc below the waterline. He alludes to Port Jackson 's later use as a cadet training vessel with a crisp, clean paint scheme of white and black and showing her false gunports. Port Jackson was 286' 2" in length, 41' 1” in breadth, 25' 2” in depth and weighed 2212 GRT; she was built in 1882 by A. Hall & Co., Aberdeen to the design of Alexander Duthie and intended as a wool clipper for the London to Sydney run. In 1906 she was sold to Devitt & Moore, London, who operated her from 1906-16 as a sea-going boys' cadet training ship. Several such “windjammers” are still extent and form part of museum collections and historic sites: Star of India is at San Diego ; Balclutha , San Francisco ; Wavertree , New York ; and Moshulu, at Philadelphia 's Penn's Landing.
Provenance: Model built in 1977; Private Collection, Switzerland
Reference: Model Shipwright, Number 80, June 1992, pp. 46-48, D. McNarry FRSA.