Tuesday, January 10, 2017

10 Classic Marine Paintings, War of 1812 - With Footnotes, #22

American School, 19th Century
BALL ON BOARD THE U.S. FRIGATE CUMBERLAND AT SPEZZIA, circa 1856
Watercolor on paper
11 1/4 by 14 1/2 in.
Private Collection

Launched in 1842, the USS Cumberland spent much of her pre-Civil War service in the Mediterranean in 1853, while anchored in the harbor at La Spezia, a grand ball was held. An engraving depicting this ball was published in Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion in April of 1856, and this watercolor is likely based on that image. More

Thomas Chambers (1798 - 1866)
SABBATH DAY POINT, LAKE GEORGE, circa 1855
Oil on canvas
10 by 14 in.
Private Collection

Chambers, Thomas, American, 1808 - 1866 or after. He was born in London in 1808 and emigrated to the United States in 1832. A painter of both landscapes and marine scenes, Chambers did not confine his artistic subjects to views that he knew firsthand but made liberal use of both his imagination and popular engraved images. A number of Chambers' depictions of naval battles during the War of 1812 are based upon engravings.

For the years 1834 and 1840 he was listed as a landscape or marine painter in the New York City directory. From 1843 to 1851 he lived in Boston, then moved to Albany, where he remained until 1857. He was subsequently listed in city directories in New York, 1858-1859; Boston, 1860-1861, and New York again, 1862-1866. After this time there appears to be no record of him, and his death date is unknown. More Chambers

Chambers, Thomas, American, 1808 - 1866 or after
New York Harbor with Pilot Boat "George Washington", c. mid 19th century
Oil on canvas
56 x 76.3 cm (22 1/16 x 30 1/16 in.)
National Gallery of Art, USA

Obscure in his own lifetime, Thomas Chambers found fame in the twentieth century with the discovery of The “Constitution” and the “Guerriere,” below, a rare signed painting of his that unlocked the identity of the artist behind a singularly flamboyant group of mid-nineteenth-century American marine and landscape paintings. Chambers’s expressive style and bold decorative sensibility appealed to avant-garde taste, and he was hailed as a spunky native original, “America’s first modern.” Although almost nothing was known about his life, his work rapidly earned a place in the growing collections and anthologies of American folk art. More

Thomas Chambers (1808–after 1866)
The Constitution and the Guerriere, ca. 1845
Oil on canvas
24 3/4 x 31 1/4 in. (62.9 x 79.4 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Here, Chambers focused his attention on a well-known marine battle in the War of 1812 featuring the U.S.S. Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides. Basing his composition on an engraving by Cornelius Tiebout after a painting by Thomas Birch, he took certain liberties with his source, advancing the action and showing the British ship, H.M.S. Guerrière, with all its masts broken. More the War of 1812

Thomas Chambers, (1798 - 1866), see above

Michel Felice Corne, (1752-1845)
Combat between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere
United States Naval Academy

USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere was a single ship action between the two ships during the War of 1812, approximately 400 miles southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It took place shortly after war had broken out, and would prove to be an important victory for American morale.

Michele Felice Cornè (1752–1845) was an artist born in Elba who settled in the United States. He lived in Salem and Boston, Massachusetts; and in Newport, Rhode Island. He painted marine scenes, portraits, and interior decorations such as fireboards and murals.

Fleeing from the Napoleonic Wars, Cornè emigrated to the United States and settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1800. Cornè moved to Boston in 1807 and lived and worked there until 1822. In 1810 he painted the wall murals at the Sullivan Dorr house in Providence, Rhode Island in 1810. After the historic battle of USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere on August 19, 1812, Cornè created a series of four paintings showing four key events in the battle. The paintings are in the collection of the United States Naval Academy.

In 1822 Cornè relocated to Newport, Rhode Island. His house in Newport still stands on Cornè Street. He lived there until his death in 1845 at the age of 93.More Cornè

Thomas Chambers, (1808-1869)
CAPTURE OF H.B.M FRIGATE MACEDONIAN BY THE U.S.S. UNITED STATES ON OCTOBER 25, 1812, circa 1845
Oil on canvas
21 1/2 by 30 1/4 in.
Private Collection

The rolling waves and swirls of smoke in this painting convey the noise and excitement of battle. To patriotic nineteenth-century Americans, the victory of the frigate United States over the British ship Macedonian in 1812 marked a triumph against British sea power. Off the Canary Islands, Stephen Decatur's ship damaged the Macedonian's hull, dismasted, and captured her. Decatur became an American hero who famously proclaimed "Our country-...may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong." More U.S. Frigate United States

Thomas Chambers, (1798 - 1866), see above

Thomas Birch, (1779–1851)
The naval battle between the „United States“ and the „Macedonian“ on 30 October 1812, c. 1813
Oil on canvas
71.2 × 87.7 cm (28 × 34.5 in)
Historical Society of Pennsylvania

The two ships lay alongside each other for over two weeks while Macedonian was repaired sufficiently to sail. United States and her prize arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, on 4 December amid tumultuous national jubilation over the spectacular victory. Wherever they went, Captain Decatur and his crew were lionized and received special praise from both Congress and President James Madison. Macedonian was subsequently purchased by the United States Navy, and was renamed USS Macedonian. It had a long and honorable career under the American flag. More

Thomas Birch (1779 – January 3, 1851), was an English-born American portrait and marine painter. He was born in London, England. He came to the U. S. in 1794, and assisted his artist father, William Birch, in preparing a 29-plate collection of engravings: Birch's Views of Philadelphia (1800). Subscribers to the series included President John Adams and Vice President Thomas Jefferson. This sold well and went into multiple editions, inspiring similar collected views of New York City, and of suburban estates surrounding Philadelphia and Baltimore. Thomas' first major painting appears to have been a view of Philadelphia from the Treaty Elm in Kensington, which was also engraved and published in 1804. He painted portraits until about 1807, when he took up marine-painting. Some of his most famous works depict naval battles of the War of 1812.

Historically, the Birches' most important work may be a circa-1801 engraving documenting the unfinished U.S. Capitol. Another, may be the painting depicting an 1812 naval battle between USS United States and HMS Macedonian, that hung in the Oval Office of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. More Birch

Attributed to Thomas Chambers (1798-1866)
PIRATE SHIPS AND CUTTER FIRING CANNON, SEASCAPE, NIGHT SCENE, circa 1850
Oil on canvas
15 3/4 by 21 1/4 in.
Private Collection

Cutters were widely used by several navies in the 17th and 18th centuries and were usually the smallest commissioned ships in the fleet. Larger naval cutters often had the ability to hoist two or three square-rigged sails from their mast to improve their downwind sailing performance. Navies used cutters for coastal patrol, customs duties, escort, carrying personnel and dispatches, and for small 'cutting out' raids. As befitted their size and intended role naval cutters were lightly armed, often with between six and ten small cannons. More Cutter

Thomas Chambers, (1798 - 1866), see above

Thomas Chambers, (1798 - 1866)
NEW YORK HARBOR WITH CASTLE GARDEN AND SHIPS, circa 1840
Oil on canvas
22 by 30 in.
Private Collection

Castle Clinton or Fort Clinton, once known as Castle Garden, a circular sandstone fort now located in Battery Park, in Manhattan, New York City. It is best remembered as America's first immigration station (predating Ellis Island), where more than 8 million people arrived in the U.S. from 1855 to 1890. More Castle Garden

Thomas Chambers, (1798 - 1866), see above

Thomas Chambers (1798 - 1866)
NEW YORK HARBOR WITH CASTLE GARDEN AND SHIPS, circa 1840
Oil on canvas
14 by 18 in.
Private Collection

Thomas Chambers, (1798 - 1866), see above























Acknowledgement: Sotheby's

Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others