Painted for a very prominent American ship-owning family of the 19th Century, this two-position portrait of the American Packet CORRA LINN was a direct commission in 1850. With its expressive calligraphic legend announcing its New York-to-Glasgow route, her Master, Capt. Lambert, and smaller, painted text centered in the lower right image border, “Dunham & Dimon, Owners, 1850”. The painting was owned by Thomas Dunham, of Marta’s Vineyard and Brooklyn. As a principle partner with Frederick Dimon, he hired his nephew, Thomas Dunham Fish, who became the company’s owner in 1868. Fish had kept extensive diaries of his days in New York, working for his uncle in 1860-61 at their South Street business locations. These diaries are part of the Woods Hole Historical Museum near Quissett, Massachusetts, where the family settled, while the business records are part of the Mystic Seaport Manuscript Collection. His diary recounts his visiting CORRA LINN at the docks.
A detailed examination confirms two views of the full hulled Merchant Packet Ship, its vertical striped blue and white house-flag on top the main mast, a Scottish Cutter Pilot leading the ship to port. The location is on approach to Glasgow in the eastern Irish Sea. We know this for sure, because the artist painted the words at the base of the landmark, “Island of Aisle”, which today is known as Scotland’s Aisla Craig. Artistic flourishes, such as the rippled American Flag, the full, white sails, the rhythmic sea, and the strong green lifeboats all add to the painting’s historic content.
While Thomas’s nephew inherited the business, his adopted ward, Stephen W. Carey had started his own shipping business with Captain Lambert and the Yale Family. He inherited control of the family estate, and combined with numerous relatives, made notable contributions throughout Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, especially to the community of Quissett. The Carey’s remained a strong presence in Quissett, with Stephen’s granddaughter Cordelia running the famed Harbor House as a hotel for many years until her passing in the 1975. This ship portrait of one of the founder’s first vessels, is a historic remembrance of their success.
LL: “Island of Aisle”; LC:“New York & Glasgow Packet Ship Corra Linn; Capt. Z.M. Lambert”; LR: “Dunham & Dimon, Owners, 1850”
Provenance: Thomas Dunham, Martha’s Vineyard & Brooklyn, New York;
to Stephen W. Carey, Quissett, Massachusetts; to Steven W. Carey, Jr., Quissett, Mass.;
to Stephen W. Carey III, Quissett, Mass.; to Estate Heirs.
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