A crisp view of an extremely rare detailed harbor scene of the American Northeast has two dockside gentlemen enjoying a clear view from the Mattapoisett Shore, looking southwest back toward Shell Beach and Fairhaven. Historically Mattapoisett and her neighbor to the northeast, Marion, formed with the City of Rochester into the community of Old Rochester. Nedís Point Lighthouse stands guard at the harbor entrance. A black man watches from the fourth floor of the local sailmakerís loft.
A lithographer as well as an artist, Bonar based out of New York City in the years 1847-60, and for an amount of time after that. He had a partnership with a Mr. Cummings, who remains further unidentified. While a few lithographic works survive by Bonar, this is an extremely rare original work to come up for sale in the public market. The scene is accomplished, with accuracy points that a professional engraver would include, such as the nice proportionate scale of the ocean-going tug boat running broadside, while the sleek-lined coastal schooner departs the local wharf, with other ships at their anchorages.
The region holds its small town charm today, with summer crowds of social elite taking residence. In the 19th century, the shipyards and lumber mills of Old Rochester supported the whaling and fishing industries of Cape Cod and Marthaís Vineyard. The primary railroad connected to Marion in 1854, so the area rebounded quickly after the Civil War and the discovery of petroleum, more than some of the neighboring towns. This American scene by the artist is an accomplish look at one of the prominent harbors of greater Buzzards Bay.