Pensive in thought sitting at a wood-slat stern bench of a departing vessel in New York Harbor, the prominent grandeur of the Statue of Liberty recently passed, a woman and her loyal dog set out on their ocean adventure. Nestled in among bouquets of flowers, she sits, one glove off contemplating the coming voyage. London? Paris? New Orleans? The destination is decided in her mind and imagination, but we know it not. Romantic shipboard portraits are the most desirable works by Henry Bacon, and command his highest values.
It is interesting to look upon the care Bacon placed with the technical representation of the ship's hardware. Parallel rail lines run against the strong vertical lifeboat davit, the weave of the rope securing the life-ring preserver to the outside face. Sensibly yet classically dressed in darker tones, her apparel echoes the last decades of the 19th Century, and the flower bloom in her blouse speaks to a sentimental attachment from someone wishing her well on her voyage.
The bright, colorful flowers add to the joy of the scene, with the haze of the harbor atmosphere and the subdued sense of the trip just getting underway. Another Steam/Sail passenger ship trails in this vessel's wake, slicing the expanse of New York's Inner Harbor on the way to the open Atlantic. The composition creates a longing to know the rest of her story.
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