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James Edward Buttersworth
Anglo-American (1817-1894)

American Steam Schooner Meets British Frigates Crossing the English Channel
From Dover to Ramsgate, off the Kent Shoreline

Three ships - an American Three-Masted Steam Schooner, a British Sailing Royal Navy Frigate and a British Sidewheel Steam Naval Frigate - are all challenged by a tempestuous sea in this English Channel crossing scene. The British sailors work in unison to reef and employ sails on both frigates, running with the heavy, wind-driven sea towards Ramsgate, while the fore-and-aft rigged steam schooner burns her boilers while keeping her sails up to help stabilize the pitch and roll of the American ship, headed to continental Europe. Buttersworth has expertly detailed the actions of the men, their ships and the dramatic setting. Many other ships lay at anchorages off the Kent coast, showing from the Cliffs of Dover to the fortifications of Ramsgate.

This early visit by an American sail/steam vessel to England is remarkable. The first such transatlantic voyage happened in 1819, by the historic S.S. SAVANNAH, and it’d take almost 20 years to be repeated. Among the first names of American Steam Schooners to make British ports, ASP, HARRIET, and BRUTUS are among those recorded. MIDAS, a steam schooner owned by Robert Bennett Forbes, was the first American steamship to China, in 1844.

Showing a varied and illuminated sky that is recognized as a signature of Buttersworth’s artistic talent in his paintings, the stormy clouds are split by a sunburst opening, reflective light creating an emotional, positive hope for the subjects. The English Channel is at its narrowest width in this stretch off Kent, home to the Cinque Ports regulating trade and naval protection in the English Southeast for centuries. Buttersworth is soon bound for life in America, making this one of his last, and in our opinion, best British scenes painted in England.

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James Edward Buttersworth
Anglo-American (1817-1894)

PURITAN Races Towards The Narrows Off Brooklyn
American Yachts Off 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.

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Antonio Jacobsen
Danish-American (1850-1921)

Lumber Schooner in New York's Lower Bay

In a rare departure from his classic ship portraiture, Jacobsen has filled this narrative work with warm luminism and soft coloration quite uncharacteristic in the majority of his work. Reminiscent in style of American luminists such as Fitz Henry Lane and Francis A. Silva, this unique painting presents us with one of the only known romantic views from Jacobsen's substantial volume of over 8,000 cataloged paintings.

Although Jacobsen painted the sea in many moods, from calm to stormy, it is seldom the artist depicted water as shimmering and reflective as this. The warm tones and graduated color in the sky further enhance the soft atmosphere and gentle mood infused in this unusual and appealing Jacobsen work. It is to be considered an important example of his often overlooked fine artistic skills.

The image shows a hard working 19th Century lumber schooner ghosting along in light air with main and fore sails set wing and wing. Carrying a full deck load of timber, the ship is depicted just off Fort Wadsworth at the edge of Staten Island in the mouth entrance to New York Harbor across from Brooklyn. A three masted brigantine is at anchor on her port bow while a sail/steam vessel heads out to starboard. A complete marine narrative setting of artistic luminosity and historic subjects in a timeless view of beauty.

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Henry Scott
British (1911-2005)

Stunsails Wide

A bright sky serves as a background to fast-moving merchant sailing ship on a deep-toned rolling ocean in this oil painting by maritime enthusiast and artist Henry Scott. The medium clipper, tall at five courses of sail up her masts, employs stuns’ls at the extreme lengths of her yards, using the extra canvas to push ahead of her competitor on the horizon.

Scott, an artistic fixture amongst the wharfs of Liverpool, was well familiar with some of the last Clipper Ships sailing. His professional association with the Master Mariners of Liverpool kept him recording the great ships of his days and the historic vessels and stories personally recounted to him by the men who lived those moments. The tea trade and racing to be the first ship to market were some of the most prominent stories told, but far from the only ones. Epic storms, fast passages and chance encounters over the world’s oceans all make appearances in his artworks. Crew members manning the forward rail would have some interesting tales to tell.

Illuminating the canvas work of Scott’s textured brush strokes, which in this case are intentionally capturing the direction of the natural elements. One of several artists to follow in the wake of Marine Master Montague Dawson, Scott was also represented by Frost & Reed Galleries. In this case, Scott is careful to show neither the ship’s carved figurehead or nameboard to concrete his subject ship’s identity. Scott chose her instead to be representative of a great many of the last “Wooden Walls” of the world’s merchant sailing ships.

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John Stobart
Anglo-American (1929-)

Ship N.B. PALMER off the Golden Gate
San Francisco

A stalwart American Clipper Ship, N.B. PALMER launched in 1851 out of Jacob Westervelt’s New York yard. Named after the renown Stonington, Connecticut sea captain and ship designer Nathaniel Brown Palmer, whose exploits include becoming a ship’s captain at 21, and soon after being the first American captain to discover the Antarctic Peninsula. The namesake clipper ship, owned by A.A. Lowe & Brother, sailed for the company for years in the China Trade. The Lowe’s were very successful with their Chinese business dealings, and owned several of earliest American clippers built.

The artist John Stobart is known for being an exacting historian as well as a leading marine artist. Well proportioned with sleek lines, the ship sails over an excellent portrayal of the Pacific Ocean and vast bright sky. Distant ships near the California headland are in view. His precise details reveal more about the 202' large clipper; her Merchant Code flags are up the hoist above the American ensign, and she slices a speedy wake as she cuts across the open water. Stobart painted a superior blend of sunlight and shadows on the sails. In 1858, she set a record of 82 days from Shanghai to New York.

“Captain Nat” as he was informally known, was directly involved in the design of the first American Clipper. One story reports he carved the wood hull model of Low’s Clipper HOUQUA while sailing home from China as captain of the ship PAUL JONES in 1843. The Low’s showed their respect by hiring him as their marine advisor, and later by naming this remarkable vessel after him while he was an active ship owner himself. Stobart honors their shared history with this top-quality artwork.

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James Gale Tyler
American (1855-1931)

Abandoning the Arctic Exploration Ship JEANETTE


A 19th Century tale of survival and tragedy, the artistic skill of James Gale Tyler’s narrative painting tells part of the story of thirty naval officers and enlisted men, along with three civilians in the midst of an Arctic adventure on an attempt to reach the North Pole. This painting, with its exceptional coloration, reflective qualities, and textured details ranks amongst Tyler’s very best work. The striking depiction still radiates the almost-ever present Arctic summer sunlight, casting hope over the adventure.

A time-line of the expedition illustrates the enormity of the challenge the men faced. Publisher James Gordon Bennett, Jr. purchased the ship, previously the H.M.S. PANDORA, and allied with the U.S. Government to fund the expedition. The JEANETTE left San Francisco on July 8, 1879 and was held fast in ice east of Wrangell Island by September. The ship drifted northwest in the ice for the rest of 1879, all of 1880 and landed at an island they named Henrietta Island, in honor of Bennett, on May 9, 1881. This was more than 600 miles from where they first became stuck. While trapped, the men led by Lieut. Commander George W. DeLong, Assistant Surgeon James Ambler, Lieut. Charles Chipp and Chief Engineer George W. Melville battled hunger and fierce atmospheric conditions, all while conducting their scientific assignments, hunting, and maintaining their ship.

In June 1881 the ice began to part, and hope surfaced that they might steam clear, but on June 12th the flows closed in with force and crushed the JEANETTE, sinking her in less than one day. Shown here, the men pulled their meager supplies and three boats off the ship and prepared to make a 700-mile trek toward open water on the north Siberian Coast near the Lena River Delta. After almost three months, they reached the ocean and set out in the boats. Separated soon after by a storm, Chipp’s boat was lost, DeLong’s went off course and only one boat led by Melville found safety with local inhabitants. Two of DeLong’s group, Seamen Noros and Nindemann, managed to survive by setting out to find help for them all. Melville later returned to the Siberian Arctic to search for his lost captain, and found their last camp and the written journals DeLong had kept the entire trip, along with many sketches.

Right up until the end, DeLong kept an exacting log of the voyage, and this record lives on as a book to tell the full story, edited by his wife, Emma, and published in 1883. The moment portrayed by the artist Tyler is one of hope and determination, an artistic homage to the spirit of all the men, taken directly from a drawing in DeLong’s published book, from the last day of the Ship JEANETTE.

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