By: Donald McNarry FRSA
British Paddle Steamer of 1837
Full-hull model built 1980 to a scale of 32' = 1”
Glazed case of avodire wood
“First across the Atlantic under steam,” diminutive Sirius here is made to seem even tinier and more delicate as the artist reveals the humble beginning of the mighty new era of steam, as well as her position as its harbinger, by placing her within a slightly enlarged casing space. Characteristic of McNarry's use of contrast is this juxtaposition of the import of the enormous transition from sail to steam with the humility and simplicity of her size, name and stance. Paying homage to the great Scottish builders who orchestrated the Industrial Age with their steam engines, the artist focuses our attention on the perfection of symmetry and engineering of Sirius' machinery rather than on her rigging, indicating his belief that the new era will be one of order and beauty. The two covered boats suggest that steam is safe and passengers may trust in the new engines; the soft, yellowish base, with its gentle color differentiations - a gentle passage. Built for the St. George Steam Packet Company, the 208' wooden-hulled Sirius was intended for service between Cork and London . The British and American Steam Navigation Company chartered the steam powered coaster for a transatlantic run in an attempt to beat the much larger, purpose-built Great Western to New York . Under Lieutenant Richard Roberts, RN, Sirius left London on March 28, 1838 and, amid much expectation, arrived at New York on April 22 after a passage of 18 days, 10 hours.
Provenance: Model built in 1980; Private Collection, Switzerland
Reference: Ship Models in Miniature, Vol. II, D. McNarry, (in galley)
Model type: Extreme Miniature
Scale: 32' = 1" Scale
Size: 12" x 5 3/4" x 8 1/4"
Code: EXM 2412