A quality work of art, capturing a leisurely day sail by one of the 19th Century’s elite American schooner yachts, AGNES of the Atlantic Yacht Club, under the command of her owner, Commodore Latham Avery Fish. AGNES was one of the best known Class B racing schooners throughout the eastern seaports, a common presence for years at regattas in the 1870s and 1880s, often accompanied by her club mates, the schooner yachts PEERLESS and TRITON.
Built in 1871 by Cornelius & Richard Poillon in their Greenpoint, Brooklyn hometown yard, she was designed by William Townsend, most famous as the designer of the grand Schooner SAPPHO. The smaller AGNES measured 53'11" at the waterline, 16'9" Beam and 6' draft. She had a solid performance record as the flagship of the Atlantic Yacht Club, and afterward sold to J. Norton Winslow when Commodore Fish upgraded to the massive schooner GREYLING in 1883.
Buttersworth frequently accepted direct commissions from yachtsmen, as is likely the case here. The sharp details and gracefully drawn lines of the racing schooner AGNES are well represented, as is her yacht club pennant, personal ‘A’ signal and crisp American ensign on display in the soft breeze. Just enough sunlight is shown breaking through the heavy coastal atmosphere, stylizing the sky as Buttersworth’s own. AGNES lasted more than 25 years before selling to foreign owners.
Matched in a challenge for the prestigious America’s Cup, MISCHIEF of the Atlantic Yacht Club of Brooklyn, New York, and representing the New York Yacht Club, is featured in this epic painting and race. This America’s Cup race was the first to feature two sloops in battle, with the Royal Canadian Yacht Club’s representative, ATALANTA, running parallel immediately alongside the defender.
Franklyn Bassford’s portrayal is a quality capture of this important race. The scope of the drama, with the N.Y.Y.C. yacht squadron and others running in their wake and the spectators waving from the named tug boat, is further highlighted with the up-close action of the men on deck and one adventurous soul half way up MISCHIEF’s mast. The Atlantic Yacht Club burgee is flown, with national ensigns in view. The tug flies a neutral pilot jack, but undoubtedly is loaded with American yacht racing fans.
Under full sail, the yachts contest the outside Club course beyond the Narrows. Bassford, an elusive but popular artist in his time, has created a masterful work of the spirit and facts of the race. MISCHIEF, an iron sloop designed by A. Cary Smith, was an early “compromise” that borrowed some of the best features of English cutters and blended them with American speed. She handedly defeated ATALANTA, but was challenged in the contests by American Sloop GRACIE, that started 10 minutes behind the racers but came close to finishing first in both races on Nov. 9th & 10th, 1881.
Fought 80 miles west of Denmark on May 31, 1916, the Battle of Jutland was the largest challenge for supremacy of the seas since the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Capturing a pivotal moment of the World War I naval battle, Montague Dawson paints the German High Seas Fleet, under command of Admiral Reinhard Scheer, perform a daring and untested full speed turn in unison to escape the range of the British Grand Fleet under command of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe on the horizon.
The first salvos saw the Germans destroy five British ships of Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty’s scouting command in less than a minute, but the encounter had drawn the German Fleet in range of the Grand Fleet. To escape the trap, Scheer ordered the German column to all turn at once, rather than executing a traditional corpen, thus avoiding each having to turn in succession and face annihilation.
Both sides claimed victory, and with 250 ships combined, the British suffered 6,945 casualties and the Germans 2,921 in the 30-minute engagement. The German Fleet was forced to retreat to their base and never again engage the Royal Navy. Dawson captures the moment’s intensity, with artillery smoke and intentional smoke-screens, the exploding rounds landing amongst the warships, and the overhead perspective illuminating the enormity of the ocean and numerous ships in this conflict. An epic painting of the greatest naval battle of modern times.
Under a high gray English sky, a ray of light catches the American Racing Schooner COLUMBIA in this scene by James E. Buttersworth, competing in the waters of the artist’s land of birth. COLUMBIA, owned by Franklin Osgood, is heeled over showing her deck and active crew, the slick schooner in racing trim with the yachting national ensign and his private signal on display.
Franklin Osgood, at the time Rear Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, and part of the successful group of yachtsmen who triumphed in the second defense of the America’s Cup in 1871 against the English challenge of LIVONIA, sailed for England in 1875 and competed in match yacht racing with his champion schooner COLUMBIA. His yacht was built by Joseph B. Vandeuson at his 16th Street, East River, New York yard in 1871. Osgood was following in his older brother George’s spirit, who had sailed his Vandeusen-built FLEETWING to England to race in 1871 and 1872. FLEETWING had previous been part of the regatta that defended the first challenge for the America’s Cup.
Shown with the reflective light creating strong watery illusions, two English cutters give chase in the race, while a rowed boat is nicely displayed with a man standing watch in the bow, two oarsmen, and at least one passenger in a red cloak. On the headland before them several buildings including a castle battlement, and is very near Portsmouth in the south of England, across from the prominent yacht racing courses of the Isle of Wight. Buttersworth would have painted this as a commemorative moment of a great American racing yacht’s season overseas.
A painted portrait of the Racing Yacht MAYFLOWER, directly from the year of her most glorious campaign for owner General Charles J. Paine in the 1886 Defense of the America’s Cup. Having defeated .PRISCILLA and the New York Club’s other potential defenders in the August trials, MAYFLOWER met Lieut. William Henn’s GALATEA, the first steel challenger for the Cup, on Sept. 7. In light airs, MAYFLOWER handedly defeated the Royal Northern Yacht Club of Scotland’s challenger, both on the inside and outside New York courses.
A sensation of movement is achieved by the artist, the racing cutter is raked back at speed under a sky brightening with the rising marine layer, while the water is very active. Paine’s private signal flies high, and his royal blue coated presence is noticeable amongst the crew dressed in whites. Two schooners and another racing cutter share the water off New York.
Built in 1886 by George Lawley’s City Point Yard in Boston from the design of Edward Burgess, MAYFLOWER followed their successful syndicate project led by Paine and J. Malcolm Forbes with PURITAN, the defender of the 1885 challenge. They both possessed deeper hulls with lead ballast on the outside, overhanging sterns and modified cutter rigs, greatly changing yacht design to a far more capable boat in all weather. MAYFLOWER was 100' with a 85½’ waterline, 23½’ beam and a 9'9" draft that extended down 20' with the centerboard. She was not successful in her first matches, but after some adaptations, by August she was unbeatable, winning not only the trials and the Cup, but every match she raced the rest of the year. Paine most likely directly commissioned this great portrait in her honor and lasting memory.
This is an extremely well done narrative ship portrait by one of the more elusive American marine painters, Joseph B. Smith. The schooner AURELIA P. HOWE, named after the daughter of a Manhattan business family, launched in 1845 out of Baltimore, Maryland and worked in the Chesapeake and Atlantic coastwise trade. Shown in her early glory, the schooner would be part of a legal battle in 1858, disappearing from the news to surface for Civil War charter service.
The painting is a well performed composition, with the primary subject crisply detailed and proudly showing her tell-tale flags, the artistic hand of Smith clearly evident. The charm of the setting, we believe off the New York coast, includes a top-sail schooner, other fore-and-aft rigs, a white-hulled, walking-beam sidewheel steamer, and two very animated men making the most of the day fishing, a touch which is a very unusual addition to a ship portrait. The schooner’s crew is on deck, and there’s a nice sense of motion to the ship in the water. Another near identical Smith painting of the schooner is known, closer to a shore without most of the supporting cast. Our painting has a New York artist supply label verso from 1835-1865.
The schooner would be in a New York Times brief in 1858, when Andrew F. Higgins acquires partial title to it in settlement of an account of Master William Tilby. Later, in 1863, soldiers of Company C, the Fifty-First Volunteer Regiment of Massachuset would use it for transport out of Baltimore during the Civil War, recording their voyages in several published letters. Miss Aurelia Perry Howe married mariner Moses Kelley Glines, and their son George would be born in Baltimore in 1849, quite possibly while his parents or grandparents owned the merchant schooner.
A scene of universal appeal, two sailing men find themselves looking from the stern of their vessel to the larger companion ship upon a driven Pacific Ocean. The artist Armin Hansen was well familiar with the challenges of sailing vessels, having crewed aboard ships out of Belgium and Germany in the early 20th Century. With a minimalists approach, Hansen is remarkably able to translate the cool weather, driven speed and human determination in this Impressionist painting. Crashing swells collide with the hulls, and the segmented views of both ships tell of the deep troughs and rising pitch and roll of the sea, with its great translucent light.
Lush green tones, deep and pale, dominate the canvas, while the brief flashes of yellows and reds create highlights of interest. There is a hidden level of technical brushwork, making what first appears to be a casual painting into an exacting and well-thought out composition. It is a day of heavy atmosphere, the sailors in wet weather gear, a block pulled nearly horizontal by an out-of-sight sail. The tools of the fishing trade occupy space, while an interesting and eye-catching anchor globe lantern floats on a line up a flag staff. Hansen was acquainted with the many fishermen of the Monterey area in the commercial business, and we join him in viewing their efforts in this exceptional painting, done after his membership in the National Academy.
The skillful combination of beautiful sky, picturesque background and accurately rendered vessel make this work an excellent example of the artistic ship portrait style of James Bard. The WILLIAM HARRISON is portrayed decked out with four prominent American flags and her gilded Pilot House Carved Eagle as she makes her way up the Hudson River.
This work concentrates fully on presenting an undistracted image of the steamboat, showing no passengers, a device Bard used throughout the later and most important period of his career. Note the classic perspective that draws the eye unerringly to the center of the composition and the use of tiny white dots making up the spray off the bow and paddlewheel to show movement. The original paint is in such excellent condition that the detailed touches of raised, thick oil are visible to the eye and the flags, windows, eagle, and elsewhere.
The 377.67 ton WILLIAM HARRISON [153'LOA x 26.2'B x 8.8D] was built at Keyport, New Jersey in 1864 by Benjamin Terry for C.W. Copeland of the Citizens Transportation Company. The vessel’s namesake, William Harrison, owner of the company that fabricated her vertical beam steam engine, was the original owner of this painting.
Captured by Moran, a brig under her full flight of sail is ready to brave the open sea away from Manhattan and Governors Islands in the excellent composition of this painting by New York master Edward Moran. A coastal schooner catches a tug boat tow, while several sailing yachts and a large steam liner reside along the horizon, accented by the rosy hue of the sunlight on the red sandstone of Castle Williams on the island headland.
Moran spent many of his professional days along New York’s harbor, and he painted scenes which venture beyond the work of the period’s traditional marine artists and ship portraitists. Even at this distance he presents an accurate depiction of the 40 foot-high walls of the round fort that rests across from Castle Garden and Battery Park. Interesting that Governors Island was one of the first New York locations to be settled and the castle, built in 1811, never fired a shot in warfare. The island was sold to the state of New York in 2003 by George W. Bush.
It bodes well for the sailors that the cloud bank behind them is full and billowy, showing that a the wind is most likely rising. A significant bonus is the artistic taste of Moran when it came to choosing frames for his paintings. The original ornate gilt that he selected is still with this fine work showing the diversity and activity of historic New York.
A sloop with a plum bow, strongly believed to be famous PURITAN fresh off her successful America’s Cup defense in 1885, races with two schooners off the coast of Brooklyn and Staten Island in New York’s Lower Bay. A full rigged merchant sailing ship heads out under tow from a pilot steam tug, and several other sails fill “The Narrows”, the watery gap between the headlands on the approach to Upper New York Bay and the seaport of Manhattan. James E. Buttersworth earned his reputation as the premier artist of 19th Century American yachting, and while he painted through the Northeast, this is one of his favored locations.
The water of New York Bay is animated with a stiff breeze-driven chop, harmonious to the late afternoon setting sun, while seabirds stay just above the surface. While the light is still strong, the racers are headed to their home berths. PURITAN, owned and raced by John Malcom Forbes, was built in the New York Yard of George Lawley & Son in 1885. She triumphed in the defense of the America’s Cup in 1885 against the English challenge of Sir Richard Sutton and his Cutter GENESTA. PURITAN, with her compromise cutter hull / sloop rig, was one of th every first of her style built in America. She’d be the primary influence for MAYFLOWER which would win the Cup Defense the following year.
The New York headlands appear just distant enough to show little but their green foliage, and the sky varies to a sunny brilliance toward heavy clouds. The white hulled yacht was one of the very first so styled, after having her hull painted black for her Cup match. Soon, all others would follow suit.
The heart of Glasgow has always been the Clyde River. Salmon has painted an exceptional marine narrative loaded with striking details and beautiful colors of the activity at the Broomielaw Excursion Steamer docks in 1832. Underway, the larger of three green-hulled sidewheelers is loaded with passengers, beneath flags and a colorful blue-yellow stack. Off the bow the sidewheeler GLASGOW (1832) and others rest at anchorages, near a large American merchant sailing ship with men aloft in her rig. Across the luminous water, mariners deal amid the decks of a Dutch merchant.
The medieval city of Glasgow sprang to international prominence partially on the strength of the tobacco trade with the American Colonies. Glasgow’s “Tobacco Lords” built institutions that survive today, including the world’s first Chamber of Commerce, its spire competing in height with the Nelson Monument and churches beyond the Broomielaw Bridge, also known as the Glasgow Bridge. An unofficial count of 105 people are shown. An early Broomielaw Clock Tower holds the north bank.
Salmon’s superb painting of the luminous, reflective water and exacting details with great color variation shows why he inspired so many artists who followed. Elements such as the vignette of the men in the rowed boat are found in Fitz Henry Lane’s masterworks, directly inspired by Salmon’s art.
Inscribed Verso: #766 Painted by R. Salmon, Sept. 28, 1832.
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.
Celebrating the victory of J. Gordon Bennett's HENRIETTA in the prestigious and important 1866 transatlantic schooner challenge, a professional British yachting crew led by two officers and two female companions wave encouragingly to the departing racers. Members of the New York Yacht Club advanced the prestige and stakes of yacht racing with this epic event, each wagering $30,000 on the winner-take-all affair. Captured in the newspapers, barroom tales, and numerous visual works of art, the public’s imagination and interest was widespread and passionate. This fine period folk art painting of the legendary race from New York to England is by the American artist William Carr. Carr inscribes the work verso with its title, date, and his Jacksonville, Illinois hometown.
Identification of the racing schooners is assisted by the special colored flags worn by the yachts. Foremost in the painting, wearing the blue identifier atop her mast is HENRIETTA, owned by renown newspaper publisher and infamous yachtsman James Gordon Bennett, Jr. Following closely is VESTA, owned by tobacco baron and racehorse afficionado Pierre Lorillard, who initiated the competition with a dinner party boast over turtle soup that his 105-foot schooner was the fastest yacht afloat. In the third position is New York Yacht Club members George and Franklin Osgood's famous FLEETWING. Each wagered to be victorious in the head-to-head-to-head match race across the Atlantic Ocean. Bennett's HENRIETTA was the first to the finish off the Isle of Wight with a time of 13 days, 21 hours and 45 minutes winning the then-unrivaled and unheard of purse for any race of $90,000. This equates roughly to a value of $9 to $15 million in today’s markets!
The folk art styling of William Carr’s painting is an added bonus in this period view of the historic race. The schooners are cresting, hard driven and harmoniously composed in their interaction with the wind. A late winter squall - the race began on Dec. 11 and finished on Christmas Day- shows with the streaking downpour coming through the heavy clouds. The race was so widely celebrated that numerous artists painted its moments, and the prestigious lithography firm of Currier & Ives made multiple scenes of this race, mostly from the originals of James E. Buttersworth. Carr locates the three schooners and the red-uniformed longboat crew in the southern reaches of Long Island Sound Inlet, and has the pair of British officers attired in their formal blue outfits saluting the competitors as they finish their challenging Atlantic Ocean crossing at the south of England and the annuals of yacht racing immortality.
A masterful two-position portrait of the American Sailing Packet CHAMPLAIN, straight from Samuel Walters early, outstanding period of marine art. On an outside approach to Liverpool past Holyhead, Anglesey, the stalwart presence of the Trinity House’s South Stack Lighthouse is in distant view. CHAMPLAIN has her request for a local pilot to guide her safely to a Liverpool berth flying on top of the main mast, and her “C” swallowtail Philadelphia houseflag at the main-top. In the second-position, she is being met by Pilot Schooner 6, IRLAM, built in 1831 by Mottershead, Heyes & Son of Liverpool.
In a lively green sea that has come to be known as a hallmark of the Liverpool School of artists, the American packet ship is portrayed in profile with at least 26 people, crew and passengers, including women wearing bonnets, shown ondeck. Walter’s trademark accuracy faithfully portrays the smallest details, evidenced by the ship’s prominent figurehead of the famous explorer of North America, Samuel de Champlain, in a kilt with a long rifle.
CHAMPLAIN was built in New York in 1834 and registered in her home port of Philadelphia, making several voyages to China by way of Britain and back. Walters painted another view of her in 1836 immediately off Perch Rock Fort and Lighthouse that is in the CIGNA Museum Collection of Philadelphia. This is a superior work of art with great historic content.
Beautifully composed, this exhibition of premier yacht racing features an 1895 period view of the America’s Cup battle between the New York Yacht Club’s DEFENDER and Lord Dunraven’s VALKYRIE III, representing the Royal Yacht Squadron. The DEFENDER’s crew, captained by Hank Haff on behalf of managing owner C. Oliver Iselin for J. Pierpont Morgan and William K. Vanderbilt, is hard at work changing the jib sails. Against the popular consensus of employing Scandinavian professionals to crew, Haff chose his from the ranks of Maine’s fishing fleets.
A rare painting of a Cup race, Cozzens’ number one subject, which redefined several aspects of head-to-head yacht racing, including the rules pertaining to length of waterline and ballast, the third and final match is shown. DEFENDER had already won the first, and was fouled at the start of the second match and was awarded that day’s victory. The third match, on September 12, was heavily attended, but the massive spectator fleet was kept further back, as Dunraven had squarely blamed the big New York Steamer YORKTOWN of undue interference for the earlier mishap, despite photographic evidence squarely putting the blame on the VALKYRIE’s maneuver. At the start, Dunraven had his yacht throw a tow rope to his tug, and pulled away from the course, never to race again.
Dated 1895, Cozzens was undoubtably present, and witnessed the glory of Nathaniel Herrshoff’s beautiful keel design, with her steel frame and brass and bronze connected aluminum features covered with white pine and mahogany. Unfortunately, due to the aluminum swelling, she lasted but five years, but she absolutely served the purpose for which she was built, defending the Cup.
Extreme speed on display, with two of the premier big racing schooners of the 19th Century American East, Commodore W.H. Thomas’s RAMBLER leading Jacob B. Voorhies’ MADELEINE in a head-to-head match on Sept. 19, 1872. The two classic schooners set out from Brenton Reef Lightship, voyaged round Sandy Hook Lightship and return to the Newport, Rhode Island coast. The match was won by RAMBLER almost four hours ahead of MADELEINE at the finish 43 hours, 25 minutes, 32 seconds later.
A rare painting of the earliest days of yacht racing, this is more so since it is the earliest identified and extremely rare oil painting by the noted watercolor artist and illustrator Cozzens. The sharp parallel lines and racing trim of both yachts is in keeping with the early works of his noted peer Antonio Jacobsen, both artists building upon the foundation of great American yachting works by James E. Buttersworth.
Dated 1872, the schooners achieved fame over a span of years. MADELEINE launched as a sloop in 1868, built by David Kirby of Rye, New York. She would be altered to a schooner in 1870, and modified in 1871, 1873 and 1875 until she earned the reputation as the fastest American yacht in 1876 and successfully defended the America’ Cup from Lord Dunraven’s challenger, COUNTESS OF DUFFERIN. RAMBLER was part of the fleet defense of the Auld Mug in 1870, and soundly beat MADELEINE twice in 1872. Thomas sold the yacht in the late 1880s and she was used to sail 60 tons of dynamite under the command of Captain John “Dynamite” O’Brien to Panama in 1888. Leisure, speed and glory would be both of theirs.
The strength of a great ship portrait lay with its overall striking composition blended with an attention to detail. Charles Sidney Raleigh was extremely skilled with both elements, and this is one of his finest works. An American full-rigged ship of large proportions, LUCY G. DOW is one of many ships owned by Maine interests, where the ship would be locally built and consortium owned. More Maine captains owned part of their ships than any other East Coast region, it appears through an informal survey of lists.
Note the fine details of the captain and crew hand at work onboard off the coast. The numerous buildings are clustered on the peninsular stretch with a pier coming out near the lighthouse’s walkway. At the distance, ship masts rise from a prominent harbor. All are shown with Raleigh’s folk art styling and perspective, much emulating maritime master James Bard.
The Dow family has extensive roots through Massachusetts, Maine and British Columbia, Canada with many sailing vessels to their credit as builders and owners. Boston, Southport, Portland and Oromocto all were shipbuilding yard locations for members of the family. One descendant, with access to the various worldly cargoes, would go on to establish Dow Chemical Company, and continue the family’s name recognition through the 21st Century. Several family members were named Lucy over the years, and one of them in specific would have been as proud as the more than a dozen other family members with ships named after them.
Excellent color and a depiction of several uniformed sailors with guests onboard a large, fast-moving schooner yacht on the open Atlantic Ocean outside of New York is the heart of this work by New York artist Thomas Willis. While a New York Yacht Club burgee at the foremast top and the American Yachting Ensign with the star-circled anchor are easily identified, the Blue Double-Swallowtail with a gold cross owner’s pennant has yet to reveal the specific identity of the yacht and her owner(s).
Willis worked on direct commissions and undoubtedly knew this vessel. Nice tight detail in the rig and hull of the yacht, with its silk sails well shaped and defined with parallel lines and reef points. Set on an emerald sea rolling headlong at the yacht, Willis has made his sky open and luminous with a subtle pink glow.
This is a fine work, in original condition set in a quality and n outstanding 19th Century frame. The silk and embroidery will remain vibrant out of strong direct sunlight and the oil painted back scene is quite nice and complete. With all her sails up, the identity of this Schooner Yacht is just waiting to be discovered and add more historic content to an excellent work of art.
An artist who knew the vessels he painted firsthand, Baltimore artist Otto Muhlenfeld has captured the Great Lakes Steam Tug CALUMET in a colorful, working profile. Her American Ensign outreaches her name pennant, and a gilded pilot house eagle sits atop the unusual 360-cabin structure of her bridge. Her black funnel reaches skyward, through an atmosphere and a sea that have characteristics of folk art, always desirable in early American original artworks.
Launched in 1892 out of Milwaukee, CALUMET carries the name of the Chicago River off Lake Erie, and served primarily along the entirety of the Erie Canal route, from the lakes to Buffalo and on down the Hudson to Albany, making all points of the Atlantic Ocean possible. Later in 1913 an entire class of tugboats would carry her name and a similar design, and prove popular enough for a Calumet Shipyard to specialize in their construction.
Shown early in her career, CALUMET is painted in deep tones, and the 62.55 gross ton vessel was a capable worker, assisting vessels of all sorts. Muhlenfeld painted a series of portraits, many of them tugs, in this era, directly commissioned to portray the ships. The artist employs a level of drafting skills in the depiction of the ship’s line and detail.
A stalwart ship of the British Royal Navy, a Third Rate Warship with a steeped fighting beak platform and approximately 74 guns sits at anchor within a river estuary, waiting for either orders or opportunity to serve the Crown. The War with the American Colonies had ended four years earlier, and the U.S. was just signing the Constitution the year this work was painted. The artist Pocock himself served aboard a similar ship during some of his Royal Navy career, and may well have known this specific ship depicted. The scene is far more than a simple ship portrait, with a complete composition of small boat activity, men on the headland shore and a beautiful yet subtle atmosphere and waterway.
Works available by Pocock, and for that matter any of the First and Second generations of British Marine painters are extremely rare in public markets, and have been steadily gaining appreciation as fine art works and investments for years. The strength of this single painting, with its detail and excellent overall composition makes it apparent why such works have earned an improved standing within art collectors of all fields. This is one to possess, treasure and enjoy, as the people of Pocock’s time would have certainly done as well.
One of three late 19th-Century steel-hulled barques built directly for the shipping company of Lang & Fulton of Greenock, Scotland, the EAST AFRICAN was a familiar sight in both Liverpool and Melbourne, alongside her near-identical older sister, EAST INDIAN, and their larger, younger brother ship, AUSTRALIAN.
The 252'5" L x 39'B x 22'5"D vessel was built in 1895 by the Robert Duncan & Co. Shipyard of Liverpool. Duncan is renown as one of the premier engineers of his time, and had already made several innovations in locomotive and agricultural mechanization before acquiring his marine boiler shop in 1880, and by 1882 his ship-building firm employed more than 450 men. Jacobsen has portrayed the ship in her early beauty, white-hulled with a peek of Greenock Red of her lower hull in view, matching the waterline. She is full-sailed, with six courses on the fore-and -main, rigged expertly.
The Liverpool-to-Australia Trade route was one of the last hurrahs for the sailing trades, carrying British goods and passengers and bringing back primarily loads of wool, along with items from countries throughout the Orient. Many ships were manned by crews less numerous than had plied the seas on the Clipper trade routes. A knowledge of mechanics became standard fare alongside seamanship and navigation. EAST AFRICAN was built to carry a large cargo, yet made remarkably competent sailing times year in and out. EAST AFRICAN would continue on service, selling to Norwegian interests in 1911, still afloat when the World War I broke out.
Painted after a Mediterranean encounter from direct information provided by English officers who were present, the Dutch Master Willem van de Velde Jr. composed a view of naval battle straight from the Algiers coast. Barbary ships and armed sailors assault a vessel of the British Admiralty, with the “haze of battle” obscuring some of the heroic and desperate actions of participants.
One of the exceptionally rare original works of this specific nautical combat, it became a popular 16th and 17th Century subject with his British patrons, to the point were van de Velde painted this scene more than once, with the earliest large original painting residing in the collection of the Earl of Midleton, England. This is the known second such painting, attributed directly to the artist’s studio, with its significant provenance. It is interesting that in this period the artist strove to show humanity on both sides of the naval battle, as men in dire situations attempt to assist each other, amid the chaos and fire.
Barbary corsairs preyed upon foreign ships throughout the 17th and 18th Centuries, right up to the successful British assault on Algiers by Lord Exmouth’s squadron in August, 1816. Internal European conflicts kept the Barbary pirates from fully facing a reprisal until after Napoleon’s downfall. Painted for members of the aristocracy, Willem van de Velde the Younger’s artistic efforts echo through the finest collections and museums still today.
A stalwart American ship clearing the Delaware headed for Honolulu with a load of coal, this broadside ship portrait by Alexander Charles Stuart is of the Ship GATHERER. In her maiden year of service, the Bath, Maine-built Downeaster went to New Orleans with hay, took a load of cotton from there to Liverpool, and crossed to collect the coal in Philadelphia before heading to Hawaii. She’d make 8 Cape Horn voyages, averaging about 129 days, a profitable and fast sailing Downeaster, and yet still record one of the bloodiest voyages in merchant maritime history.
In this portrait, A.C. Stuart shows the large wooden vessel as built by Albert Hathorn, a 1,509 ton Downeaster especially constructed for the Cape Horn Trade. Measuring 208’1” x 40’2” x 24’3”, she’d sell to Jacob Jensen at San Francisco in 1888, serve 17 years on the Pacific rigged as a bark, and then transfer to New York interests to carry lumber from Puget Sound to New York in 1905, and become a towed barge, eventually lost off the coast of Virginia in 1909 with 2,400 tons of coal.
While her first captains, Joseph and George Thompson, earned GATHERER a good reputation as a fast sailer especially for such a large square-rigger, reaching 15½ knots and 350 miles a day from Honolulu back to the Columbia River in 1874, a voyage from Antwerp to Wilmington, California in 1881 would darken her name. Under Captain John Sparks and Chief Mate Charlie Watts the ship earned an unsavory reputation of “Hell Ship” and whispered title of “The Bloody Gatherer”, and eventually Watts six years in Folsom Prison for cruelty on the high seas. While the dark names stuck, she proved to be far more of a success than this one tragic voyage. Stuart has captured her early glory.
A dynamic painted view of a conflict at sea between America and Great Britain over national rights and Imperial ambitions, the first frigate of the United States, aptly named UNITED STATES, de-masts the British MACEDONIAN on the way to capturing the valuable ship as a war prize on Oct. 25, 1812. Grant has imbued the scene with the dramatic impact and an aesthetically strong interpretation of the important naval battle, nailing the historic fact of the U.S. Frigate’s complete defeat of King George III’s Ship off the coast of Africa.
Slightly more than two months after the U.S.S. CONSTITUTION won the first naval engagement of the war, the frigate UNITED STATES of 44-guns fell in with H.M.S. MACEDONIAN of 38-guns. The British captain, John Carden, had been Captain Stephen Decatur’s dinner guest in January, and had jokingly bet a “beaver hat” on an outcome between their ships. Little did either know that nine months later Decatur would command his 24-pounders to fire on his friend. American marksmanship and range proved superior, and UNITED STATES would strike, bear-away slightly, reload, and strike again. In a two-hour engagement, MACEDONIAN’s masts were shot down and topped off. It is recorded that more than 100 rounds hit the Brits ‘between wind and wave’.
The two ships would take five-weeks to sail to New York, where MACEDONIAN would be purchased by the American government and become an fighting navy asset for years. Her Alexander the Great figurehead and four 18-pounders are still on display at Annapolis. Grant has put together a powerful rendering of the conflict in an impressionistic, fluid portrayal.
A beauty of a painting showing a slice of the empirical might of the British Royal Navy, two of her stalwart ships are under sail in the Bay of Naples. This crisp detailed narrative art work by Mediterranean artist Tomaso de Simone is composed with a broadside view of a fighting frigate, flying a British Royal Navy ensign.
The headland of Mount Vesuvius and the Florentine architecture of Naples with its environs are visible beyond another larger, multiple decked British warship. Atop the most elevated hill is the large ancient acropolis of Neapolis, where the “Istituto Universitario Suor Orsola Benincasa”, a university that traces it origin to an agreement between the King of Sicily and the Holy Roman Empire in 1224, settled in the 20th Century.
Sharp lined, full sails moving her at a good clip, the frigate type is identified by the single deck of full-sized (at least 24 pounders, possibly up to 34 pounders) cannon ports in a horizontal line. Lanteen rigs of Mediterranean sailing vessels are noticeable, and the high clouded sky hold fumes from the iconic volcano of the Mediterranean shore. Exceptionally detailed, De Simone’s work is an outstanding historic view of European context and British naval content.
A striking portrait of a very large American sidewheel paddle steamer on her maiden voyage from New York to Mobile, Alabama, and on from there to Havana, Cuba. The BLACK WARRIOR began the voyage in her home port of New York City. Bard has undoubtedly painted her in concert with either her listed builder, William Collyer of New York, whose name is included by the artist on the canvas, or the owners, Livingston, Crocheron & Co. Launched in 1852, the line soon moved its southern base to New Orleans, establishing a foothold in a region soon in direct competition with the Vanderbilt and Morgan families.
Her deep luster coloration is expertly portrayed by Bard. He has used draftmanship in composing the full outline of the steam/sail transition vessel, and then worked in painstaking detail to apply every touch of oil, down to the pointillist-style of the water’s wake against the hull and the top of the ocean swells. The brooding sky colors compliment the impressive heavy sense of the 1556-ton steam/sail paddlewheeler, with the flags brightly displayed before the clouded sky. Several gentlemen sailors are visible on deck, attending to the coastwise Atlantic journey. With the placement of the American Government’s streaming pennant at the main mast top, undoubtably this included mail to the South, and possibly return news of the recent Gold Boom in California. She would stay on this route until a snow squall off Rockaway, Long Island put her aground on Feb. 20, 1859.
There were very few American artists who focused upon marine subjects during this seminal period of American history, and even fewer outside the northeast coast. This factor adds considerably to the interest and value of this particular work, a rare document of the era and showing a unique locale. This oil on canvas depicts a British vessel leaving what we believe to be a port in the American south, very likely the port of New Orleans itself. With a view of the settlement beyond, a stone battlement guards the harbor mouth while a full-rigged ship sits at anchor, awaiting its next passage.
Liverpool’s importance as a maritime center of Western Europe shows through in this rare early portrait by Miles Walters of the merchant ship GIPSEY entering the Mersey. He completes the marine atmosphere with depictions of early steam paddle wheelers, a multitude of sailing yachts and an exceptional three-masted seacombe ferry boat, BANG-UP, with her advertisement on her sail.
The focal point, a port-side view of the GIPSEY, details the grace of her 112.6 foot length. With a 28.2 foot beam and 19.1 foot depth of hold, she was a large vessel for her day. Built in 1826 for John Tobin of Liverpool by Mottershead & Hayes, she primarily ran trade routes from England to India for more than 22 years.
Walters trademarks reside throughout this work. His intricate detail quality shows not just in GIPSEY’s three views, but throughout the busy harbor, the buildings onshore and the distant view of Perch Rock Fort off the coast at right. GIPSEY’s flags, from her decoded numeric Liverpool code at the foremast, her name pendant on the main, the yellow and blue Isle of Man standard from the mizzen, likely belonging to GIPSEY’s Captain Quirk, and the early 19th century ensign aft, are completely accurate.
A classic scene of a large mid-Nineteenth Century schooner at rest in the Mediterranean port painted by the Italian countryman Tomaso De Simone. The complete narrative scene around the schooner’s broadside is complemented with a British merchant steam/sail ship, local boats and the colorful sky and headland architecture of the ancient city.
The vast serenity and unspoiled life of cruising the Mediterranean Ocean is a must for pleasure yachting. No less so 150 years ago, when the British schooners of several yacht clubs are reported to have staged a long-distance race for the 1864 season. It is believed that the club burgee flying on this yacht is of the Royal Western Yacht Club, based at Queen Anne’s Battery in Portsmouth, established in 1833. At home, the schooner VINDEX earned the record as top racer, with MADCAP as the second-best yacht for a season full of events.
Atmospherically, this work is a joy, with its full headland displaying the classic buildings of the Italian port. While the American Civil War raged and the English professed neutrality, their economic and nationalistic interests lay intertwined with the Confederate South, and its cotton exports and shipping needs. While on pleasure cruises and private challenge runs, the British undoubtedly kept an eye open for the unfolding events of the American War Between the States, played out on the World’s waters.
A strong commissioned portrait of the Portland, Maine barque straight from the heart of the sailing era. Likely ordered by her master, Jacob Merryman, for her owner, William Stanwood, the ship served for years. The two position portrait is complimented with the small ketch and gig boat near her, and the nice profile of the sidewheel steam pilot awaiting her maneuver. The Dover headland with a silhouette of the main castle complete the scene.
It is interesting to note that the works of I. Tudgay appear only in the singular, rather than in conjunction with the other family members. There is one school of thought which believes that ‘J’ and ‘I’ are the same.
This portrait shows some very tight detail in both views of the barque, which is reefing in sails to come to anchor. Built in 1836 at Brunswick, Maine for her owner by Stephen Harris, she measured 132’9"L x 30’1.5"B x 15’1"D. Harris had family members in the lumber and ship building trades since the pre-colonial establishment of the Kennebec communities, whom were widely known for their American schooners. Only fitting she is portrayed in a fine manner by this renown member of a family of artists.
Off the southernmost tip of the Isle of Wight is no place for an inexperienced sailor. With that forethought, there would be few “greenhands” onboard Louis Loubat’s racing schooner, ENCHANTRESS. Built in Greenpoint, New Jersey from a model by Captain Bob Fish, one of the most experienced yachtsmen of any day, she was a product of the Pine shipyard. Captain Fish would sail her over “the pond” in 1874 and lead her for part of the next three seasons in English waters. Here she competes directly with two English schooners pressing her hard, EGERIA and PANTOMIME.
The warm light upon the give depth to this dramatic and complicated composition. The Nab Lightship is a marker point, with the excursion committee steamer of the Royal Yacht Squadron keeping times for the racers. Stateside, ENCHANTRESS was a direct competitor of SAPPHO, and had a continued record of success. She won the Cape May Cup in its second year, in a race from the Sandy Hook Lightship to the Cape and back.
The large schooner measured 127'2" in length with a 24'1" beam and a depth of 10'3". She originally was ordered and owned by George Lorillard, a tobacco baron of the 19th Century, who sold the racing yacht to Loubat in 1873. In a remarkable effort, Couch has somewhat deviated from his proven broadsides of 19th Century racing yachts to a spectacular frozen moment against a difficult headwind and a cresting ocean in the southern reaches of England.
One of three 19th Century ship portraits to have surfaced in the modern era by the artist J.A. Moutte, this working scene of the Swedish Ship BENGAL is interesting on several levels. Inscribed with the Captain’s identity, A. Osc. Carlson, and emblazoned with Swedish Merchant Ensign and International Code Flags proclaiming her identity, the ship is a sharp lined, full bodied wooden hull with a large expanse of sail canvas.
Moutte is listed as the principle ship owner with a French firm based in Marseilles that carried his name from 1855-1880. The company owned five ships, all three masters. The first was JOHANN FRIEDERICH, built in 1855 and listed in the German registry. LOUIS MOUTTE was built and registered as a French merchant ship in 1868.
BENGAL, while a wildly popular name in the records of maritime activities, is an as yet unrecognized for a 1872 listing of the Swedish Barque. Buried somewhere in Swedish archives will be her builders history and ports of call, undoubtably in service to Moutte & Co. Dirtectly. This fine watercolor portrait is a first step toward rediscovering its importance.
Escalating early in the 19th century and into the late 1870s with the dangerous smuggling of opium, the China trade route has been an important era in trade. The development of competition between America and Britain for the growing tea trade contributed to a focus in the orient. As a result, many captains commissioned talented Chinese artists to document these vessels, both sail and steam powered, whose reputation for speed, efficiency were known to break all records.
Values of China trade works have shown very strong responses in the marine art market. Several factors contribute to this success: they combine a traditional portrait style with very romantic overtones; their demand is also due to the distinct features that the works possess. A Chinese school work can be recognized immediately by its unique style and technique: straightforward and direct, yet sophisticated in both coloration and detailing.
The common sailors, with increasing disdain for the pomp of the British admiralty in the naming of her great ships, especially to the education-challenged, called the fine ship the “Billy Ruffian”; a name they could infinitely more or less identify with. China trade shipping era is part of an important, exciting period of western history lasting nearly two centuries and continuing through our present times.
In a fine example of American ship portraiture, Baltimore artist Otto Muhlenfeld shows the Maine-built bark ‘AMY’ on a starboard tack with all sail set. At her main truck flies the owner's flag of the New York firm of Goss and Sawyer. The foremast shows her personal ship’s flag while her name pennant flies from the mizzen. Beneath the American ensign on her gaff truck is a four flag international code signal identifying her by number.
Carrying four jibs and royals set above her topgallants, the bark-rigged ‘AMY’ was obviously designed for speed when she was built in 1883 in the downeast shipbuilding capitol of Bath, Maine. The 700 ton vessel was 159 feet in length with a 32 foot beam and drew 16 feet of water. Goss and Sawyer used her in the Atlantic and Coastal trades.
Shown at the turn of the century, this view shows ‘AMY’ most likely off Baltimore, the region where Muhlenfeld created most of his work. The sea and sky are reminiscent of Antonio Jacobsen, the New York port painter, but Muhlenfeld shows his own singular drafting skills in the depiction of the ship’s lines, rig and deck detail.
Radiant with its red iron hull, the 1876 Sunderland-built Welsh barque would be identifiable even without the Eryri Shipping Company house flag proudly aloft. Along with three near identical sister ships of the line, they sailed the world, delivering Welsh slate mined from the Snowdonia region and returning to Great Britain with New Orleans cotton, Canadian timber and the spices, silks and silver of the Orient.
On approach to the island of Hong Kong and City of Victoria, the crown jewel of British colonialism (if one excuses them for America), the barque has every stitch of canvas driving her 219.5 feet, 1081 ton-plus stone cargo weight to port. Undoubtedly, Welsh quarrymen traveled along with the sailors to deliver their expertise in carving the sought-after building material, both in Asia and the Americas.
The unidentified Chinese artist used a uniquely styled blue rolling sea to set the sailing merchant upon, complimenting the vivid coloration further with crisp lines and mature shadowing. The sky holds a subtle white vapor which gives the tall ship plenty of breadth. Along with Glanpadarn, Glanperis & Glanivor, Glandinorwig was managed by D.P. Williams, a druggist of Llanberis, Wales, from her home port of Caernarvon. They derive their names from towns of the region, while the company name translates as “place of the eagles”, referring back to the mountain where the slate was mined. The stone was shipped to cities the world over, including China’s recognizable island.
A beautiful medium clipper of iron, Pegasus and her identical sister ship, Reliance, were built in 1884 for Charles W. Corsar , a leading canvas maker of Liverpool. They sailed the world’s oceans, carrying British goods to the east and west coasts of America, and from there buying the raw materials of lumber, coal and nitrate for transport and trade to the South Pacific colonies. They would then visit the exotic ports of the far East, and return the teas, silvers, furniture and materials of the Orient to Liverpool. Pegasus held to this circuit for nearly 30 years.
The uncredited Chinese artist who created this portrait did a masterful job, showing her strengths of a full-bodied rake with the canvas full and flags on display, including her international merchant code flags exactly performed. Although owned by Cosar & Sons with their prominent houseflag and beautiful carved pegasus figurehead, the ships were managed for their interest by W.T. Dixon & Sons of Liverpool, who were connected to brokers and ports all over the world. She measured 314'l x 42'3"b x 24'9"d at 2564 tons.
The prominence of the four-masted barks is accentuated with the six-courses of sail on the fore, main and mizzen masts. Pegasus and Reliance were the first ships ever built and recorded with their officers quarters located midship, and the bright fine hardwood of their construction stands out on this painting of superb coloration. Pegasus sailed until 1912, when a storm ran her onto market island in the Gulf of Bothnia. Her load of Scandinavian lumber helped keep her afloat, and she made her last stop at the Baltic Sea port of revel under tow.
In this full port beam view, John Hughes presents a fine portrait of the American full rigged ship M.P. GRACE approaching Liverpool with South Stack, Angelesey coming up just under her bowsprit. Note top-hatted Captain Robert Wilbur, the vessel's first master, on deck reading signals from the Holyhead Signal Station through his long glass.
Hughes' detailed draftsmanship portrays the wooden hulled GRACE, built by Chapman & Flint of Bath, Maine in 1875 with all sail set, striving for a record run to Liverpool. Nice detail is shown in the deck structures and layout and the elegant scrollwork on her bows.
The 1,928.13 gross-ton M.P. GRACE was 229.9 feet in length with a beam of 42.1 feet and a draught of 19.7 feet. Her first home port was New York. In 1898 she became a salmon packer with the San Francisco fleet of George W. Hume & Co. where she worked steadily until 1906.
This excellent narrative portrait by Antoine Roux, Jr. Shows a rare scene of the merchant brig Le Theodore, hailing from the channel port of Saint Malo in Northwestern France, heaving to and hoisting a white flag of surrender under the guns of an independent privateer while voyaging off the Canary Islands.
The work is a fine portrait of Le Theodore with the extra dimension of the corsair adding an element of drama to the painting. Privateers operated throughout the Mediterranean and along the Western coast of Africa during the period this work was completed. Roux has portrayed both vessels quite well with deck details on the brig showing the captain observing the corsair through his long glass while the ship's crew anxiously looks on.
Roux's knowledge of ship rig and sail handling emerges here with his accurate depiction of the brig's spanker being doused with a system of brails, the top gallant sails are being clewed up and the jib is coming down as the vessel prepares to be boarded. Roux watercolors such as this are considered strong historical references to accurate ship type and detail.
This beautifully detailed and proportioned ship portrait is the earliest known surviving work by the artist, but undoubtedly, it is far from the first he painted. It has such professional styling and bearing the commander’s name, B. Pittman and as such was almost assuredly a direct commission. The only other known work held in a public collection compares favorably - Bark ELLEN Passing Elsinore Castle - is in the Collection of the Peabody Essex Museum of Salem. Undoubtably others exist in private European and American collections. The Danish Castle made famous in Shakespeare’s Macbeth is unmistakable as the headland setting.
MOSCOW was built by the Portland, Maine yard of David Spear and Son, circa 1830. She originally was rigged as a full ship and weighed 300 tons. Her configuration here is after conversion to a bark, with her identity not only twice written by the artist, but shown in the Boston Flag Code high on the mizzen mast, a pre-cursor to the developing International Merchant Flag Codes. MOSCOW served as an Atlantic Packet for a succession of Boston owners, as is most remembered under the command of Captain William Dane Phelps, when he sailed her to San Francisco and came home to much fanfare in 1849 with one of the first barrels of California gold.
With a traditional folk art look, this portrait of the Maine-built schooner MADAWASKA MAID shows the strong hull lines and balanced sail plan that made Downeast schooners the backbone of American coastal trade in the 19th century. The long clipper bow and extended bowsprit give extra length forward to accommodate the formidable fore-triangle of jumbo, jib and jib-topsail.
MADAWASKA MAID was built on the west bank of the Kennebec River at the town of Phippsburg just south of the city of Bath, Maine. Launched in 1832 at the yard of William Reed she was a 130-ton coaster, 78 feet long with a 23 foot beam and drawing just over 8 feet of water. She is a typical model of the hundreds of Maine coastal schooners that linked east coast ports throughout the 19th century.
In this view the schooner prominently wears her name pennant at the main truck and a small red pennant on her foremast. The American merchant ensign flies from her gaff-peak. The schooner is shown offshore with a large flotilla of other coastal shipping seen on the horizon.
Period pirate action against an American ship is an extremely rare subject. Combined with the Caribbean account within this work and it is one of the outstanding snippets of history we have come across in recent years. With present muzzle flashes and views of the battles at sea and shore, it is clear that Pellegrin either was present or heard the story directly from a participant. What is less clear is what purpose the American, a 212-ton brig which was built in Steubens, Maine in 1833, had in these waters.
The Dominican Republic, as the Trinitarians, Had declared their independence in february from Haitian rule, which had cast off Spanish rule 17 years arlier. Taking the Haitian Flag and adding the white cross, they won the Battle of Azua on March 19, 1844. It is most likely that the American ship ended up in the wrong place at this time a month later, and as a interloper in the area of hostilities, was set upon as a prize. The nine men and their record of valor and victory in repelling the Dominicans is recorded in the inscription personally by the artist.
It is of interest to note that American interest in the region continued well through the century and beyond, with the possibility of annexation of the entire Isle of Hispaniola in the 1870s. This Greater Antilles Island is west of Puerto Rico, beyond Mona Passage, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Today the Dominican Republic is the second largest nation in the Caribbean, sharing the island with the Republic of Haiti.
A pristine look at the challenge of pleasure cruising on New York's Hudson River is presented from the view of Julian O. Davidson. An avid mariner as well as a fine artist, Davidson frequented Hudson locations, capturing some significant early looks at the less populous regions of New York. Iona Island is one such spot, and its beauty survives today as part of a protected ecological reserve and National Natural Landmark status. It is a known nesting location of American Bald Eagles.
In Davidson's time, the island, once connected by railroad, became an excursion destination, complete with docks, a hotel, picnic grounds and an amusement park. The hill area in view is known as Courtland Hill. While most of the island is marshy, the Snake Hole Creek is a fresh water source which rises from the center of the island to flow off the southwest. Two sharp schooners are maximizing the blustery day with efficiency off the shore, and a small excursion steam pleasure vessel is on approach to the island. A luminous glow carries softly in the sky with interesting diversity to the clouds. With the prevailing conditions, it's sure the sailors are giving full attention to their ships.
The island progressed into the hands of the United States Navy in 1900, and they established an ammo depot that was in use through World War II. It became part of the Palisades Park Commission in 1965. More than 25 species of birds also nest with the Bald Eagles amongst the 405 plant species, some in woods undisturbed for centuries.
L.J. Pearce’s subject here is no clipper ship, but rather the famous American Frigate, U.S.S. CONSTITUTION. “Old Ironsides” is shown in a full port view with her sails prepped for furling or a departure, depending on the direction of the military contingent of American sailors in the rowed boat. Boston proper is shown in her mid-19th century glory, with a luminous sky filled by the sun on the horizon, much in the manner of American marine master Fitz H. Lane..
Signed T. Bailey, the importance of which in mentioned the brief biography on the artist William Paskell, this work depicts the lighthouse and keeper’s residence of Petit Manan miles off the Maine coast. The first lighthouse was ordered here in 1817 by President James Monroe due to the extensive bar between the island and the mainland. The 119-foot tower here is the second to be built, in 1854 and is Maine’s second tallest light, after Boon Island.
The painting has a nice composition of rocks, sea and sky in complement to the architectural important of the lighthouse. A stiff breeze pushes the trickle of smoke out of the chimney horizontally as well as the distant sails on the horizon. Many sea captains were well aware that by catching the northern current in relation to the curvature of the Earth that they would reduce their transatlantic sailing time along the East Coast.
The Blackwall frigates were the 19th century link between the lordly east Indiamen and the more modern pacific & orient passenger liners. These celebrated first class ships plied the seas from London to India and Australia. Period ship's portraits of these vessels are today hard to find and eagerly acquired by collectors of marine pictures.
Edouard Adam has skillfully portrayed the great Blackwall frigate Alumbagh during a moments rest in the french harbor of Le Havre. A capable ship, Alumbagh is noted as one of only two vessels to survive the devastating cyclone of Calcutta in 1864 which destroyed numerous ships within the harbor and river anchorages during that disastrous season.
Alumbagh was built in 1863 by Laing of Sunderland for Duncan Dunbar of London. She weighed 1138 reg. Tons and measured 190'l x 36'b x 23.8'd. She operated in the Calcutta passenger trade and was considered one of the finest of her type ever built. Adam has at once captured both her line’s beauty and an accomplished yet subtle sunset illumination to portray her in this excellent example of his work.
The clipper ship Bengal was built in Liverpool in 1868. At 1838 gross tons, she was a fast and able vessel and is known to have sailed under several different house flags over the years. Her background includes service in both the tea trade and the lucrative smuggling of opium.
Lai Fong is one of the few Chinese port painters to be identified. This work has been attributed to this artist based on it’s style of presentation and the familiar detail of the vessel.
Over time, and especially in the last decade, the value of these "China Trade" paintings have shown a very strong and consistent response in the marine art market. There are several factors contributing to the success of these important paintings. The first is the fine esthetic qualities that the works possess, a traditional portrait style colored with the romance of the era. Another consideration reflects the consistent attention that these paintings have garnered with international collectors both of both marine and oriental genres.
This crisp Chinese export painting dates from the period around 1890. It offers a fine depiction of the harbor area beneath the prominent shape of Victoria Peak. The Chinese artist has utilized nearly a full spectrum of blues, soft in the sky to a deep indigo in the foreground sea to achieve the pleasing contrasts and highlight the ship.
The vessel depicted is the barkentine LINNET, one of several ships of that name built at Captain Marquand’s yard in Chittagong, Burma for the Asian firm of Rustomjee Cowasjee & Sons of Calcutta. As were many of the ships from this yard, the 190 ton merchant barkentine was most likely launched as an opium clipper in the late 1850's for the lucrative drug smuggling trade between India and China.
Many of these fast opium clippers later evolved into respectable merchantmen. LINNET is shown here at a later date sailing under the British flag and wearing the house flag of a more legitimate British firm at her foretop. Trailing astern as the vessel enters Hong Kong harbor is a Hong Kong pilot junk, having just placed the harbor pilot on board to bring LINNET to a safe anchorage.
From the early 19th century and on into the 1870s with the exciting & dangerous smuggling of opium, the China trade route has been an important area in commerce. The competition between the Dutch and English, followed by America and England, for the growing tea trade contributed to a worldwide focus in the orient trade. As a result, captains commissioned talented Chinese artists to document the vessels whose reputation for speed and efficiency were breaking all records.
Through time, this school of painting has shown a very strong and continued response in the marine art market, with several factors which define this success. The first is due to the fine esthetic qualities that these works possess: traditional portraits colored with the romance of the era. Another consideration reflects the artistic accuracy and attention to detail. This was mandated by the officers who originally commissioned the works. Thirdly, the historic importance of the various ships and their connections to the greater economic and social changes they assisted in bringing about makes the work among the most highly prized of period marine art.
Belonging to financier and New York Yacht Club member Howard Gould, the steam yacht Niagara was a fine fixture in the bay at the turn of the century. Built in 1898 by Harland & Hollingsworth from the design of W. G. Shackford, the steel twin-screw ship was originally built as a bark, measuring 272 feet loa. Refit within her first decade without spars, sails and mizzen mast, the main was moved behind the deckhouse. Most likely Willis was directly commissioned to portray the yacht immediately, catching her in her finest condition.
The detailed embroidery, painted sky background are softly muted while the green sea is quite strong. Quite exceptional are the number of people Willis has depicted onboard, with crew members in white, while gentlemen have blue coats and white hats, and one woman in a skirt stands behind figures in reclining chairs. The Goulds, Morgans, Astors, Vanderbilts and other key members of American society all launched yachts upon which they lavishly entertained and remained in the public’s eye.
The yacht proudly flies the N.Y.Y.C. burgee, Gould’s private signal and the American ensign. She would be purchased from Gould in 1917 by the U.S. Navy and was converted into an armored patrol yacht. Her record of service includes World War I escort duty, and a decade of hydrographic work charting the Gulf of Venezuela and the coasts of Central America, retiring in 1933.
This work depicts three large sailing yachts, a sloop and two schooners, wearing the burgee of the Oconomowoc Yacht Club of Wisconsin. The three yachts, carrying all sail, are being trailed by one of the Great Lakes Excursion Steamers filled with spectators to view the race. Period views of the Great Lakes such as this are very hard to come by. For this reason works by Torgerson have been highly valued in the rare instances when they become available.