Note on the Image

M5. Charles Morgan in whaling, circa 1880


Charles W. Morgan was an American whaling ship during the 19th and early 20th century. Ships of this type usually harvested the blubber of whales for whale oil, which was commonly used in lamps. The ship is an exhibit at the Mystic Seaport museum in Myatic, Connecticut, and is the world's oldest surviving merchant vessel. The ship is the only surviving wooden whaling ship from the 19th century American merchant fleet.

The Morgan was nearly destroyed in 1924 when the Sankaty, a steamer, caught fire and broke free of its mooring lines. The burning Sankaty drifted across the river and into the Morgan ' s port quarter, but the Fairhaven fireman managed to save the Morgan

The Morgan underwent restoration by Captain George Fred Tilton and was turned into an exhibition for Green's estate in a berth constructed by Frank Taylor. In 2010 Mystic Seaport was engaged in a multi-million dollar restoration, intended to restore the ship to seaworthy status.


Although the subject is immediately recognizable, the diagonal water leads us to step into the picture.

The balancing strength of foreground masts against the horizontal and diagonal lines are evident.

The distant water line draws the perspective depth of the picture and the small boat is balancing the group of fore ground ships.

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