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Following the War of 1812, the United States determined to rebuild its navy – to include classes of warships equal or greater in size and fire power than corresponding ships in foreign navies. The largest of these were “ships of the line” carrying a nominal number of guns (74 or 84), but in actuality 90 to 100 guns or more, making them equal to – or more powerful than – the largest warships in foreign navies. (1)
The best of these warships was the 74-gun ship “Ohio”, designed in 1816-1817 by Eckford Webb. Built at New York Navy Yard, 1817-1820, she carried between 86 and 102 guns firing 32- or 42-pound shot. The numbers and sizes of guns varied according to her commanding officers’ wishes. (2) Based at Boston Navy Yard for most of her career, she was the Navy Yard’s receiving ship for many years before being sold out of service in 1883. (3) The “Ohio” would have been a familiar sight to Lane during his years in Boston and the logical subject for a lithograph (perhaps two) and a painting. There was a painting titled "Ship of the Line Ohio" exhibited by Lane in 1851 at New England Art Union in Boston and also a picture exhibited in a Gloucester storefront in 1843.
1. Howard I. Chapelle, “The History of the American Sailing Navy” (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1949), pp. 313, 314, 316.
2. Ibid., p. 314.
3. W. H. Bunting, “Portrait of a Port: Boston, 1852-1914” (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971), pp. 436, 437.