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William Bradford
American (1823-1892)

Sunrise off Grand Manan Island, 1860


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Thomas Buttersworth
English (1768-1837)

H.M.S. Shannon Boards U.S.S. Chesapeake off Boston
Famous Naval Battle of 1813


This historic depiction of the Battle of Boston Harbor illuminates one of the most famous sea battles in both American and British Naval history. On the afternoon of June 1, 1813 the U.S.S. CHESAPEAKE sailed out of Boston to meet the challenge of the waiting H.M.S. SHANNON.

Although a British victory, by a supreme irony, the Americans would emerge from the defeat with the greater benefit. For it was in this battle that the gallant young American Commander James Lawrence spoke the immortal words "Don't Give Up The Ship" as he lay mortally wounded on CHESAPEAKE’s deck. This famous phrase infused the fledgling U.S. Navy with an even more vigorous determination to fight and win.

The battle was brief but intense. In about fifteen minutes, 252 men were killed or wounded between the two sides, a large number of casualties for such a conflict. Though the ships were evenly matched, CHESAPEAKE’s crew was primarily made up of men new to the ship, who, while themselves well trained, had had little time to drill together or with Captain Lawrence, also new to the ship. In contrast, SHANNON’s Commander, Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke, was an expert in naval gunnery who had modified his cannons for greater aim and maneuverability and then spent a long voyage with his crew training them to fire on key targets to quickly disable opposing ships.

CHESAPEAKE took more serious hits in their early exchanges of cannon fire, the fatal blow being the loss of her ship’s wheel. With no way to maneuver, the wind and waves carried CHESAPEAKE into SHANNON’s starboard side where she took another barrage of heavy fire before the British crew lashed the two ships together. When the smoke cleared, Broke gave the command to board CHESAPEAKE.

After taking relentless fire across his decks, Captain Lawrence remained the only officer on CHESAPEAKE’s quarterdeck, his lieutenants wounded below. Lawrence also gave the order to board, and it is this moment where the two crews met in pitched hand to hand combat that Buttersworth has so brilliantly depicted here.

Figures line the decks of each ship, trading musket fire as the cannon flash below. Sailors climb the tangle of fallen rigging to reach their opponents, swords raised in the charge. The fading light of day illuminates both ships, damaged but still deep in the fight, neither ready to give way.

Detail is outstanding, but it is the drama of the conflict that Buttersworth so skillfully portrays. The cannon smoke surrounds the ships, but off to the right it clears to show us Boston Harbor busy with trade- capturing the essence of America’s freedoms won just a few decades before. It was America’s desire for self-determination as a nation and continued independence from Britain that led to the conflict here.

The white flag shown on CHESAPEAKE is historically accurate, though not as a symbol of surrender. CHESAPEAKE was known to have left harbor flying a large white flag at the foremast inscribed “Free Trade and Sailor's Rights” – representing America’s main grievances in the War of 1812.

By all accounts both sides fought bravely and with distinction. Lawrence was hit in the first wave of fire by the British coming aboard, and it was while members of his crew carried him below that he would give the infamous order, "Tell the men to fire faster! Don't give up the ship!"

Lawrence’s last command to his crew became a rallying cry for the American Navy throughout the war. Later, Lawrence’s peer, Captain Oliver Hazard Perry would take his friend’s words and emblazon them on his battle flag, winning the day at the Battle of Lake Erie, a significant turning point to the overall American victory. The motto has inspired U.S. Naval sailors from that time until today and Perry’s original flag is on display at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Captain Broke led the charge onto CHESAPEAKE and in the battle to follow would also sustain a serious injury and, while he survived and went on to receive many honors for this victory, he would never again serve at sea.

A brilliant portrait of one of the most important naval actions ever fought, this painting embodies the fighting spirit of the great naval sailors of history.

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James E. Buttersworth
Anglo-American (1817-1894)

The Start of the Great 1866 Transatlantic Yacht Race

A beautiful painting with historic importance, three schooner yachts line up before the Sandy Hook Lightship for the start of the world's first Transatlantic Yacht Race held in 1866. In his book, "J.E. Buttersworth, 19th Century Marine Painter", biographer Rudolph J. Schaefer has noted six views by the artist of this event. This is largest of the known works of this important benchmark in American yacht racing.

Identification of the racing schooners is assisted by the special colored flags worn by the yachts. Foremost in the painting, wearing the Blue was HENRIETTA, owned by renowned newspaper publisher and infamous yachtsman James Gordon Bennett, Jr. White was atop the mast of VESTA, owned by tobacco baron and racehorse aficionado Pierre Lorillard, who initiated the competition with a dinner party boast over turtle soup that his 105-foot schooner was the fastest yacht afloat. The Red flag identified prominent New York Yacht Club members George and Franklin Osgood's famous FLEETWING. A wager of $30,000 each was put up the yacht owners for 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 or $1.3M in today's dollars.

Buttersworth's attention to minute detail shows the racing crews lining the windward rail on all three yachts with all sails set on a broad reach, using organized discipline to pull hard at the rope lines. The elongated bows and colorful treatment of sea and sky make this an excellent work of Buttersworth’s favorite subject matter and superior style. Since the winner HENRIETTA is so prominently featured, one must assume that Buttersworth painted this after the results were known, possibly for Bennett himself.

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Montague Dawson
British (1895-1973)

Nearing Home, The HELICON

Bright and magnificent, the Ship HELICON slices on a quick reach in this maritime merchant ship portrait with its remarkable realism in his signature loose stroke. The sailing ship carries a proper spread of canvas for the existing wind, and Montague Dawson portrays numerous sailors active on her deck and in the rigging. Her white hull glistens, and shows some of the inevitable rust of a hard-working steel-and-iron hull ship. The ocean is alive with movement beneath the ship.

HELICON was built by Charles Connell & Co. of Glasgow to order for German owners Bernard Wencke & Son in 1887. She measured 230'6" Length with a 38'4" Beam, and weighed in at 1613 net tons. Connell & Co. had launched a near-identical sister ship to HELICON the year prior, the historic vessel BALCLUTHA, which is now a famous museum ship based in San Francisco.

After Wencke purchased the British STAR OF THE SEA in 1884, they renamed that ship HELICON. Loaded with 2000 tons of railroad tracks, the ship departed Hull on Feb. 2, 1886, bound for Sydney. She was never seen again. In memory, the Wencke firm named their newest ship HELICON, and it served the company on voyages to Australia, Chile and Africa for years, selling to Spanish interests in 1920. The ship served nine more years as VIUDA LLUSA, until broken up in 1929. Dawson may have known this ship early as an artist, and revisited the subject later in his career to produce this painting.

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Montague Dawson
British (1895-1973)

Solent Ones Rounding the Lepe Mark


Solent One Racers cut across the rolling waves in this striking work by master maritime artist Montague Dawson. These are racing on the Solent, the strait between the Isle of Wight and the English mainland.

The Solent One Design was one of the first One Design classes created. 22 were built between 1896 and 1897 for members of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Island Sailing Club. Here, there is a fair wind running against the tide, filling their sails but creating more turbulence on the water- a typical afternoon sailing on the Solent. These yachts are rounding Lepe Mark, on the Hampshire coast.

Today, only one of the Solent Ones remains on the water, still racing on the Solent for which it was designed. We've been told by someone that has sailed on her that Dawson has exactly captured both the yacht under sail and the character and color of the sea with brilliant blues and bold brushstrokes.

Yachting scenes are among Dawson's most sought after works. With an active sea, brilliant sky and the close view of the sailors in the main cutter, this example has key aspects which are most desired by collectors of Dawson's works, making this one of the best we have seen.

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Anton Otto Fischer
German-American (1882-1962)

The Dreadnought Battleship U.S.S. WYOMING of 1911

Showcasing the strength and power of the formidable battleships known as Dreadnoughts, Anton Otto Fischer portrays USS WYOMING dramatically crashing through heavy swells while underway in stormy seas. Passing to port on a reciprocal course to windward, a large three-masted schooner works, hull down, in the confused sea state. Fischer beautifully illustrates the drama of heavy weather and its nearly minimal effect on one of America’s most revered capital ships.

USS WYOMING (BB32) was the first of two battleships that would make up the Wyoming class of warship. At a length of 562’ with a 93’ beam and a draft of 28’6”, the 27,000 ton WYOMING and her sister USS ARKANSAS were the fourth Dreadnought design built for the United States Navy. WYOMING was laid down in February 1910 at the Cramp and Sons yard in Philadelphia, was launched in May 1911, and finally completed in September 1912. She was armed with a main battery of twelve 12-inch (305 mm) guns and capable of a top speed of 20.5 knots (23.6 mph).

WYOMING served proudly as part of US Battleship Division 9 during WWI, which became the Sixth Battle Squadron of the British Grand Fleet while active in British waters. After the war, she became one of the first units of the newly designated Pacific Fleet and was home ported in both San Diego and San Pedro, conducting exercises off the California coast. During this period, future Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey served as the battleship’s executive officer.

During WWII, WYOMING served with distinction as a gunnery ship attached to the United States Naval Academy, training some 35,000 midshipmen as gunnery officers. Wyoming was decommissioned in 1947 and her name struck from the Navy list. Her hulk was sold for scrap and she was broken up at New York in December 1947.

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