In Commemoration of the Establishment of Steam Navigation between Great Britain and America, the Magnificent Steam Ship the Great Western
London: R. Ackermann, 1840. Aquatint, hand-colored, by R.G. & A.W. Reeve. Sheet size: 22 5/8 x 28 1/2 inches.
The Great Western, creation of legendary engineer Sir Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was the first ship to be designed to carry enough coal, specifically to steam across the Atlantic. She set off on her maiden voyage from Bristol in April 1838, apparently unaware that the Sirius, a smaller ship from a rival company, had left Cork three days earlier on the same run. The Sirius arrived in New York on the morning of April 23 and the Great Western came in four hours later - her passage had taken fifteen days, and she had averaged 8.2 knots, an impressive speed. This was one of the most important events the port of New York had witnessed and it was the main story in the newspapers. One writer observed that "the problem of…establishing a regular intercourse by steam between Europe and America is considered to be solved by the arrival of these vessels." Over the eight years of her transatlantic service, the Great Western made about ninety voyages. This is the largest recorded print of the Great Western.
The Marine Collection at India House, pages 86-87; Parker and Bowen, Mail and Passenger Steamships of the XIX century, pages 140-141, number (i).