James E. Buttersworth
Oil on canvas, depicting the white hulled paddlewheel steamboat 'J.B. Schuyler' steaming down the East River passed the Brooklyn Navy Yard, signed lower right 'J. E. Buttersworth' circa 1875. The reverse of the canvas bears the canvas maker's stencil which states 'C.P. STAAR & Co. IMPORTERS & MANUFACTURERS NEW YORK.' The paddleboat is painted in excellent detail with the name J.B. Schuyler written in red and green shadow lettering above the red painted paddlewheel. The American flag is flying from the foremast and a large blue banner is flying from the stern pole listing the ports of call in Long Island 'ORIENT GREENPORT AND SAG HARBOR.' To the right are buildings at the Brooklyn Navy Yard a background occasionally used in other Buttersworth canvases. To the left of the Navy yard one sees a row of tall masts towering behind the 'J.B. Schuyler' as she passes on her journey up the East River. The water is painted in Buttersworth's typical style and gives the sense of the swift current in the river. To the left one sees the hilly shoreline with various buildings. The sky is extremely dramatic and typifies the atmospheric effects Buttersworth became famous for. A trail of light breaking through the clouds is illuminating the water in front of the bow of the steamboat. (PA-790)
Condition of painting: Refer to the condition report of the restorer Simon Parks.
Condition of frame: Painting has a compo-based fluted cove nineteenth- century style frame with a 23 karat gold leaf surface.
Note: The paddlewheel steamboat 'J.B. Schuyler' was owned by Commander Joseph Wright Hancox, who commissioned this painting by Buttersworth. The painting descended through his family to Wright Bernet of Point Pleasant, New Jersey and was sold by his widow to Betsey Bennett in 1975.
Reference: Grassby, Richard B., 'Ship, Sea & Sky', New York: Rizzoli, South Street Seaport Museum, 1994, p. 73. White hull paddlewheel steamboats are extremely desirable subject for collectors and a type of vessel rarely painted by Buttersworth. This book shows another painting of exactly the same size as the paddleboat 'Escort' off the Battery of New York and is in the collection of The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia. Also, on pages 116 and 117 is a second painting showing a similar background, titled 'Chapman Dock and Old Brooklyn Navy Yard, East River, New York.'
Dimensions of painting: 20 x 26.
Dimensions of frame: 28 x 30 1/8.