Although best known for his ocean liner portraits, Fred Pansing also selected many of the early East Coast paddle steamers as subjects. Early in his career Pansing was employed to paint the name boards on many of these unique craft and developed the affection for them that is obvious in this attractive work.
In a fine example of 19th century Americana, Pansing has portrayed the side wheel paddle steamer NANTASKET, built by Collyer in New York and launched in 1857 for the Boston and Hingham Steamship Company. Before the Civil War, NANTASKET made coastal runs from Nantasket beach to the island of Nantucket. After service with the US Quartermaster supplying general Sherman during the Civil War, she returned to passenger service on the Hudson River.
This colorful painting is nicely enhanced by a charming foreground vignette of spectators in period dress watching the stately NANTASKET pass by fully laden with a deckload of passengers. In an image reminiscent of the Bard brothers, all of the vessel’s decorative flags and pennants are shown streaming in the wind as she passes beneath a picturesque hillside mansion on the far shore.
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