Ship Portrait
of the Isaac Webb
Black Ball Line
At Castle Garden, New York

19th century.  Signed lower left L.A. Brigg. Dated [18]51.
Watercolor and pencil on paper, showing the Isaac Webb leaving the New York City harbor, with side-winder paddle-wheelers in the background, as well as buildings and other tall ships near Castle Garden in an unusual vignette. Prominent display of American flags aboard ship and at the harbor.

The Black Ball Packet Line was founded in 1817 at New York City by shipbuilder William H. Webb, who owned 1/16 share of the ship named after his father Isaac. From 1851 to 1879, the Isaac Webb, which was 185 feet long weighing 1,359 tons, traveled between NYC and Liverpool, England 4 times per year, taking typically 37 days to cross. The Webb was captured by a Confederate ship, the Florida in June, 1863. After paying a $40,000 ransom (about $1,600,000 now) the ship was released. In December 1866, while heading west to New York, the Webb encountered a gale so cold that it killed three crew members with several others badly frostbitten. The captain was killed during a fierce gale on the same route two years later. In a period gilt frame that may be original.

Frame size 26 inches x 20; sight size 21 inches x 15. From a fine private Midwestern collection.