Shown in a momentary respite after a transatlantic sailing in 1855, the American Packet Ship STAR OF THE WEST is at anchor in the waters of Venice, where “John” Luzzo witnessed the arrival of the American merchant/passenger ship. Proudly flying the national ensign, she has her pilot request flag on the jib boom, an unusual code arraignment forward, on the main a mail-carrying commission American streamer over her owner’s flag, Samuel Thompson’s Nephews Company. The packet, built in 1850, ran primarily between New York and Liverpool, carrying many European emigrants to America, and U.S. goods abroad.
STAR OF THE WEST was built by Perrine, Patterson & Stack’s Yard in New York, launched in 1850 at 1280 tons, and held a diverse record of runs for more than 20 years to Liverpool, the Mediterranean and Australia. She is not to be confused with the Cornelius Vanderbilt sidewheel steamer of the same name that was attacked in Charleston Harbor in 1861 to initiate the American Civil War. Our STAR OF THE WEST sold foreign in the late 1870s, her final fate unknown.
Painted by Luzzo undoubtably for her commander, John Woodward, who is named, STAR OF THE WEST is on display amongst the architectural and cultural excellence of Venice, capture during a point of prominence for American merchant sail. The elegance of Venice, with the classic gondoliers before her and many more at the quay near the Governor’s Palace with the domes of Santa Maria beyond, is in full bloom. The draftsman-like quality of Luzzo completes the work, where even the detailed lettering on the flags displayed in reverse is crisp of coloration and precise.