Information

  Oil on canvas, portrait of the ship 'Harry Bluff', signed and dated lower left 'Wm. Bradford/Fair Haven, Maass(sic) 1856.'  The painting depicts a starboard view of the ship 'Harry Bluff' hove to flying her house flag from the top of the main mast and flying the American flag from her gaff.  The ship's name  appears below the lifeboat hanging from davits near the stern and along the bow below where three sailors are shown handling lines.   To the right is a two masted topsail schooner with a rig and hull shape similar to yacht America.  The sails are beautifully rendered and are at rest.  The folds are very realistic as one sees the creases where the sails are pressed against rigging lines.  There is a point of land to the right behind the schooner with a three masted steam sail vessel coming around the point.  Beyond being a ship portrait, the brillant color and subtle toning in the sky with the varied cloud banks have a wonderful luminous quality.  Similarly, the coloration and highlighting of the water adds to the artistic presence to the painting.  Bradford and Fitz Henry Lane's portraits on the 1850s sailing ships are the highest level of ship portraiture painted in the nineteenth century.   (PA-857)

 

Condition of painting:  Refer to  Yost Restoration condition report.
Condition of frame:  The painting has a 19th century style compo frame with 23 karat gold surface. 
Reference 1:  Kugler, Richard C., William Bradford Sailing Ships & Artic Seas', New Bedford Whaling Museum, 2003, pp. 89 - 97.  There are several William Bradford ship portraits illustrated on these pages.
Reference 2:  Howe, Octavius T. and Frederick C. Matthews, 'American Clipper Ships 1833-1858', Salem, Massachusetts: Marine Research Society, 1926, p. 260.  The Harry Bluff was built by Jotham Stetson in Chelsea Massachusetts in 1855.  She was 184 feet in length, 37 feet in breadth and 24 feet in draft.  She was 1244 tons.  She was owned by Charles R. Green of New York. She was lost ofgf Nantucket Shoal February 26, 1869 while on voyage from Cadiz to Boston where 4 lives were lost.
Refrence 3: Essay 'William Bradford, Portrait of the ship HARRY BLUFF by Erick A.R. Ronnberg, Jr.  11/2014
Dimensions of frame: 36 1/2 x 50 1/2