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SS 'Great Britain' at Brunswick Wharf, Blackwall

Photo credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

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A curiously proportioned painting showing the ‘Great Britain’. She was the world's first iron hulled, screw propeller-driven, steam-powered passenger liner. The ship was built at the Great Western Dockyard, Bristol, by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his colleagues Thomas Guppy, Christopher Claxton and William Patterson, all members of the Great Western Steamship Company. When launched in 1843 she was twice the tonnage of any previous ship. She is depicted here at Brunswick Wharf, the London and Blackwall Railway Company's terminus at Blackwall. In the distance are the masts of sailing vessels in the East India Export Dock, which lay just behind the terminus, and to the left the Blackwall Mast House of the East India Dock is also evident. As she is flying the Royal Standard together with French and American flags, the picture implies a royal visit to the ship, perhaps prior to the maiden voyage.

National Maritime Museum



mid-19th C


oil on panel


H 33 x W 98 cm

Accession number


Work type



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