1945.762 | James Smith

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James Smith
1851, 19th century
92 x 69 cm
Gift of Harry LeBaron Venning Estate, 1945
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

Shipyards competed for the honour of building the largest and fastest ships. One of the most famous shipyards in New Brunswick belonged to James Smith.

James Smith built his first vessel, a small barque called the Ocean Queen, in 1836. Over the next fifteen years his reputation as a shipbuilder grew, and many of his vessels were sold to clients in Liverpool, England. He suffered a series of misfortunes in the 1850s, however, including a devastating fire that burned down his steam mill, stores, and a new ship he was about to complete. James Smith is remembered, however, for his most famous creation, the Marco Polo, which made him a celebrity among New Brunswick shipbuilders.

Source : The Golden Age of Sail [Web tour], by New Brunswick Museum (see Links)

  • What

    The ship depicted in the background of this ship portrait is believed to be the Marco Polo, which was launched from Smith's Marsh Creek yard in 1851.

  • Where

    James Smith was born on the island of Guernsey and arrived in New Brunswick about 1819.

  • When

    In the 1820s James Smith worked in the timber industry in the Grand Falls area before seeking employment in the shipyards of Saint John.

  • Who

    The artist who painted the portrait of this famous shipbuilder is unknown.