My interest in ocean-going sailing ships started at the age of 11, when the American barque Kaiulani dropped anchor in Port Jackson, at the end of the street where I lived. It kindled a life-long fascination which fuelled my interest in writing and illustrating maritime history.

50 years of study and maritime research

As a result of result of 50 years study and maritime research, I am considered by many to be a world authority on the square-rigged sailing ships, particularly:

The 19th century Tea Clipper Ships also feature in my portfolio.

Whilst I specialise in painting tall ships – Schooners, Barques, Barquentines, Ketches, Fishing boats, Trawlers and Sail Training Ships – I often paint Merchant ships, Naval vessels and yachts on commission. Years spent yachting and 3 years in the Royal Australian Navy enable me to produce realistic paintings of warships and pleasure craft.

The last Cape Horners

As an administrator of the Australian Cape Horners Association, I made contact with the last living sailors to round Cape Horn in a commercial sailing ship. As I have interviewed hundreds of these seafarers over the years I can paint these last tall ships and their global voyages with great authenticity.

St Malo medal

The International Association of Cape Horners (AICH) in St. Malo, France, awarded me the St. Malo Medal for my artwork and recording of the history of the Cape Horn Sailing Ship.

Aland Post anniversary Stamp

As most of the last sailing ships come from Mariehamn in the Aland Islands off Finland I was honoured to be asked by the Aland Post to paint a picture for a stamp and first day cover, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the last commercial grain race by Pamir and Passat between Port Victoria Australia and Europe. It was subsequently voted best stamp of the year.


Over 40 of my marine paintings illustrate a maritime book I have written, titled Windjammers – the Final Story. In 1996 I founded the Australian Society of Marine Artists and have featured outstanding examples of their work in a recent book, Paint Me A Ship, along with a further 30 of my own paintings.

Order of Australia medal

In 2011 I was awarded the Order of Australia medal for my ‘services to the Arts through the research, illustration recording of the history of the last commercial sailing ships’.

I hope you enjoy your visit to my website.

Robert Carter