The Breaking Up of the Great Eastern, No. 2

Frank Sir Short, 1890

WAG 8341

About this object

Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), the Great Eastern was the largest steamship when it was launched in 1858. Originally intended as a passenger liner, she later became a transatlantic cable-laying ship and finally an advertising vehicle for Lewis’s department store in Liverpool before being broken up at New Ferry, Wirral, in 1889-1890.
With her four funnels removed and the bow section cut open, she now appears a magnificent wreck. The blank foreground amplifies the sense of abandonment of the once great vessel, while the distant vessels and a discarded fragment in the sand create balance and depth within the composition.

Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by the Trustees of the Estate of Miss Dorothea Short in 1973, No. 8341

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Sir Frank Short (British, born:19 June 1857, died:22 April 1945)
  • Date
    1890
  • Materials
    Etching; Paper
  • Measurements
    20 x 25.2 cm
  • Physical description
    An etching of the Great Eastern being broken apart, standing on the exposed upper Mersey estuary. The ship is in the upper left corner of the canvas. Its four funnels are already gone and its bow section is cut open. There are three small sail boats standing next to the Great Eastern, and what appears to be a part of the great ship is laying half-embedded in the sand, in the right of the canvas. Lower half of the canvas is essentially a blank space. In the distance on the right can be seen several sail ships. It's not clear whether they are also awaiting breaking up.
  • Related people
    Sir Frank Short (Artist/maker, previous owner); Trustees of the Estate of Dorothea Short (Previous owner)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 8341
  • Credit line
    Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by the Trustees of the Estate of Miss Dorothea Short in 1973.
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Trustees of the Estate of Dorothea Short

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1973
    Disposal method: Presented to the Walker Art Gallery
  • Sir Frank Short

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: FRANK SHORT
    Inscription method: Pencil
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Below plate; Front; Lower right
Object view = Fine Art
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