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Unusual Sailor's Woolwork or Woolie of a Royal Mail Packet Ship

Unusual Sailor's Woolwork or Woolie of a Royal Mail Ship,

Circa 1880


A lovely Victorian sailor's woolwork picture of a paddle-wheel steam ship, flying the Red Ensign with double funnels and a side-paddle propulsion with good colour with engraved brass plaques above and below.  This is most likely a packet boat.  These  were medium-sized boats designed for domestic mail, passenger, and freight transportation in Europe.

One plaque is inscribed 'ROYAL MAIL VR', with a crown and a Royal Coat of Arms and below another plaque with  'WHITE STARLINE ROYAL & UNITED STATES MAIL STEAMERS', flanked by a pair of ship's wheels.

All within a leaf carved rosewood glazed frame and the back with a printed paper label, inscribed 'COMMANDERS-IN-CHIEF OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL FORCES IN EUROPE DURING THE 2ND WORLD WAR'.

Dimensions: 25 1/2 inches x 19 3/4 inches  (64.6 x 50.2cm.)

In 1854, Henry Jenkins & Co headed by Messrs Jenkin and Churchward won a contract for the mail services between Dover and Calais and Dover and Ostend.  The contract required ‘the carrying mails at not less than 13-knots an hour and by no less than six steam vessels, each of at least 100 tons’ register and manned by competent officers. A ship was to leave from Dover to Calais and another from Calais to Dover every weekday and for Ostend a ship had to leave Dover alternate weekdays and another to leave from Ostend to Dover every alternate weekday.’

One of the ships used on this service was a ship called The Vivid and the woolie may depict that ship.


Here is another ship of this type used for mail- The Garland-


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