Ship Portrait Collection

(Click on any of the below thumbnails to view a slideshow of larger images)

The Yarmouth County Museum's collection of ship portraits is the third largest in Canada and reflects the area's deep connections to the sea and the age of sail. Ship portraits were often brought back from foreign ports by captains, either for the owners or for the captains themselves. The majority of our paintings have direct connections to Yarmouth.

For a more extensive review of the museum's ship portrait collection and Yarmouth's marine history, the Virtual Museum of Canada has ship information, stories, and a searchable image database.

Barque Grace E Cann Thumbnail Image

Barque Grace E. Cann

  • Reverse glass painting signed C.L. Weyts, 1870.
  • 683 tons. 153' x 32' x 20'.
  • Built in 1868 at Salmon River, NS, for Hugh Cann and others.
  • Note the young girl on the deck, undoubtedly the captain's daughter.
  • Vessel driven ashore in 1884 near Jonesport, Maine, and was a total loss.
  • Donated by the family of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cook, descendants of Captain F.G. Cook (master of the vessel when this portrait was taken).
Barque H B Cann Thumbnail Image

Barque H.B. Cann

  • Oil on canvas by W.H. Yorke, Liverpool, England.
  • Registered at 1299.06 tons. Built in Yarmouth, NS, by J.N. Gardner in 1881 for H. Cann, H.B. Cann, Rudolph Cann, C.W. Cann, and Lyman E. Cann of Yarmouth, NS.
  • Commanded by Captain Rudolph Cann in 1881.
  • In 1895 she struck rock at Wolf's Island in Labrador. Strong onshore breeze and heavy seas caused her to break up. Crew and provisions made to shore.
  • They were picked up four days later by the Lockeport schooner Cepola, which took them to Port Hawkesbury, Cape Breton.
  • Painting shows the H.B. Cann passing Perch Rock Light and Fort at the entrance to the river Mersey, Liverpool, England, in 1884.
  • The signal flags read "Follow Me," signalling to the ships following behind that the Liverpool pilot was guiding the H.B. Cann into port. The weather conditions were so severe that pilots could not be put aboard the other vessels.
Barque Herbert C Hall Thumbnail Image

Barque Herbert C. Hall

  • Oil on canvas portrait by John Loos of Antwerp, 1876.
  • 650 tons. Built in Meteghan in 1873 and registered in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
  • The coastline in the left background is the approach to Antwerp, which was (and still is) a major European port.
  • Capt. Ladd was the mate, and later master, of this vessel.
Brigantine Mary E Ladd Thumbnail Image

Brigantine Mary E. Ladd

  • Watercolor attributed to Roberto of Naples, 1870 (?).
  • 149 tons. Built in Meteghan, Digby County, in 1861 for Hubbard Davis.
  • The ship is entering Naples, Italy. Note the smoke from the volcano (Mount Vesuvius) in the left background.
  • Lost in September 1876, while being towed out of Wexford Harbour, Ireland, in gale winds when the hawser broke.
Brigantine Somerset Thumbnail Image

Brigantine Somerset

  • Oil on canvas by an unknown artist, 1876 (?).
  • 331 tons. Built in Oak Point, NS, in 1869 by J.E. Wentworth for C.W. Berteaux.
  • Capt. Gilbert Cook Haley (b. 1832) of the brigantine Somerset (of Windsor, N.S.) caught a hurricane in the North Atlantic in November, 1876.
  • The painting of the Somerset in this storm shows the crew in the rigging with axes cutting away masts and yards to help stabilize the vessel.
  • Also evident in the picture is the captain's wife sticking her head out of the cabin companionway, and his daughter Hattie, whom one of the crew is tying to the mast. The cabin was obviously full of water and not a safe place to be.
  • All survived this storm.
Paddle Steamer City of Monticello Thumbnail Image

Paddle Steamer SS City of Monticello

  • Oil on canvas portrait by John David, Canada.
  • 478 tons. Built in Delaware by Harlan and Hollingsworth in 1866.
  • First used in the Gulf of Mexico passenger trade.
  • After having been rebuilt in both 1855 and 1889, she was purchased by the Bay of Fundy Steam Ship Company to run from Saint John to Digby, with a government subsidy to provide three runs a week.
  • Then purchased by the Yarmouth Steam Ship Company to be used on the Yarmouth - Saint John - Halifax run.
  • In November 1900, she foundered 5 miles west of Yarmouth Cape. 36 of 40 lives were lost, making this one of Yarmouth's greatest shipping tragedies at the time.
  • One of the archival photographs on this website contains an image of the City of Monticello.
Ship County of Yarmouth Thumbnail Image

Ship County of Yarmouth

  • Oil on canvas portrait by Ed. Adam of LeHavre, France, 1886.
  • 2154 tons. Largest owned in Yarmouth.
  • In 1891, she was in San Francisco to load a grain cargo for Europe. The owners decided that the freight rates were not high enough for the ship to make a profit, and so decided to leave the ship at anchor until the next grain season.
  • The rates remained low during the following years, and the County of Yarmouth weighed anchor and sailed to Vancouver to load lumber for Europe.
Ship Morning Light Thumbnail Image

Ship Morning Light

  • Oil on canvas signed "W.H. Yorke, Liverpool, 1884."
  • 1327 tons. 212' x 38' x 22'.
  • Built in Meteghan, NS, in 1878 and registered in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
  • Owned by Aaron Goudey and others, and F. Olsen.
  • Capt. and Mrs. Fred Ladd married and went on their honeymoon voyage from New York to Shanghai on this ship in 1886.
  • Painting donated by Miss Kathryn Ladd.