Samuel Plimsoll

A miniature marine painting of the renowned clipper Samuel Plimsoll.

The Samuel Plimsoll
Samuel Plimsoll

Painting by Gordon Frickers measuring 19.6 x 24.8 cm (7¾” x 9¾”), oils.

If you’d like a painting like this you know where to come.

According to the Northern Star, 23.11.1898:
“One of the best known, as well as one of the fastest identified with the trade between the Old Country and Australia, the SAMUEL PLIMSOLL”

The ‘crack’ clipper ship “Samuel Plimsoll” loading migrants from the Plymouth depot, bound for South Australia to where she annually sailed for 15 years, returning with wool.


About :

A most unusual painting for several reasons.

Samuel Plimsoll, a detail
The Samuel Plimsoll, detail

Today it has become a part of the story of the rightly famous man who by invitation of her builders, Hood or Aberdeen, launched this successful ship, the ‘Samuel Plimsol‘.

Good deeds and a gift :

My good friend Gilbert Duval, the deputy Mayor of Théhillac in Southern Brittany has been an immense help to with my settling in France. 

In appreciation I asked him if he’d like a small painting.

Gilbert has long admired my painting which currently hangs on my salon wall, of “Plymouth, Emigration Depot“.

He recently acquired and renovated a small, beautiful gold frame hence the size of this picture.

M. Duval is himself an artisan of great skill having owned a foundry.

Over a bottle of good wine we decided to make this new painting of ‘Samuel Plimsoll‘ to fit his frame and as a thank you for the many times he has staunchly supported my activities which he considers, benefit to his village.

In it’s small way this marine painting will become a part of the story of the rightly famous man who launched this successful ship, the ‘Samuel Plimsoll‘.

Samuel Plimsoll loading migrants at Plymouth.


The ship

Samuel Plimsoll was an iron ship built of very simialr lines as the Cutty Sark and Thermopylae.

The Samuel Plimsoll, bow detail
Samuel Plimsoll, a detail

She was launched in October 1873 (September 1873 according to Lloyd’s) and intended for the wool and migrant trade with Australia and New Zealand.

She made 15 successful and mostly very quick round voyages.

Fate : Samuel Plimsoll ended her days ignominiously in Fremantle Harbour having been converted into a coal hulk.


The Location

Samuel Plimsoll was regularly converted to carry migrants from London and Plymouth.

Cabins were built and a doctor shipped on board.

She is shown here under a rising full moon,  moored, loading migrants and about to sail from Plymouth Cattewater, where so many famous voyages began.

The middle background shows us Mount Batten with its distinctive Martello Tower and where in ancient times archeologists tell is Phoenicians traded on the beach for tin.

The far background shows us Jennycliff, the outer anchorage of Plymouth sound and in the distance for a keen eye, one sees the Mew Stone rocks.

Plymouth the most advanced [for the time], popular, migration depot about which you can discover more via my painting and linked further reading page ‘Emigration, Plymouth Australia


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Further reading: see the images and the development of this painting.

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Contact us

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Gordon Frickers © 17.08.2019 updated 21.12.2019

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