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Catalog entry

inv. 480
Capt. E. G. Austin's Quick Step, "A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew"
A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew; Capt. E. G. Austin's Quick Step,; Captain E.G. Austin's Quick Step; Captn. E. G. Austin's Quick Step; Captn. E.G. Austin's Quick Step; Captn. E.G.Austin's Quick Step
1837
Lithograph, sheet music cover on paper
9 5/8 x 6 3/4 in. (24.4 x 17.1 cm)
Sheet: 8 x 10 in. (20.32 x 25.4 cm)
Inscribed across bottom: F. H. Lane del. Moore's Lithogy, Boston
Boston: Published by Parker & Ditson, 1837

Commentary

Lane designed this sheet music cover for Moore's Lithography. It was published by Parker & Ditson. Some impressions do not have the title "Capt. E.G.Austin's Quick Step" across the top. (e.g. A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew, 1837 (inv. 531))

 

The setting for this view of Boston Harbor is Governor’s Island on the east side of the harbor’s Main Ship Channel. Looking west, the city skyline unfolds with the dome of the State House as the focal point. It is a setting Lane used often in his later depictions on canvas of the harbor and its vessels. Governor’s Island had been the site of a fort since 1808, initially named Fort Warren but changed to Fort Winthrop in 1834 (1).

Most of Lane’s views from this location are closer to sea level, but in this case, the island’s steep western slope provided the foreground for the depicted military review – presumably by the band and troops of the Boston Light Infantry. (See chart)

At anchor in the channel is a large American frigate which, by its profile, could only be U.S.S.Constitution. Closer examination of this image has found seventeen gun ports on her main battery deck, not sixteen that appear on plans of the vessel. Also, the full-length figure of Andrew Jackson is depicted vaguely, if at all, on her beakhead. President Jackson was a controversial figure in Boston long after his passing, and the ship’s figure was partially sawn off while new (2). Lane may well have modified his depiction of “Old Ironsides” so the composer and publisher could avoid controversy. That matter aside, Lane’s portrayal of the frigate is quite accurate, given the image’s size. The accuracy of detail in the rigging and the delicacy of line work are astonishing by any marine artist’s standards.

In the 20th century, Governor’s Island was leveled and joined to East Boston as ship channels and tide lands were filled to make Boston’s Logan Airport. The island’s former site is now located at the south west corner of that airfield.

–Erik Ronnberg

References:

1. Patrick J. Connelly, “Islands of Boston Harbor” (Dorchester, MA: Chapple Publishing Company, Ltd., 1932), pp. 8, 12, 13.

2. Howard I. Chapelle. “The History of the American Sailing Navy” (New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1949), pp. 129, 130, Plan 4.

3. M. V. Brewington, “Ship Carvers of North America” (Barre, MA: Barre Publishing Company, 1962), pp. 128 – 136.

[+] See More

Supplementary Images

Comparison of AAS editions for Inv. 468 and Inv. 531
Photo: © Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society (inv. 468 &
Comparison of AAS editions for Inv. 468 and Inv. 531
Photo: © Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society (inv. 468 &
Comparison of AAS editions for Inv. 468 and Inv. 531
Photo: © Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society (inv. 468 &
Detail from "Comparative Map of Boston Harbor" (1860) From surveys made in 1817 (shore lines and so... [more]undings in red) and 1846 – 53 (shore lines and soundings in black). Executed by the U.S. Coast Survey for the U. S. Commissioners on Boston Harbor. Courtesy of NOAA Historic Charts Collection
 

Explore catalog entries by keywords view all keywords »

Types of Objects:   Sheet Music »
Subject Types:   Harbor Scene »   //   Military Scene »
Vessel Types:   Brig »   //   Naval Vessel »   //   Sloop »
Massachusetts Locales:   Boston / Boston Harbor »
Objects:   American Flag / Ensign »

Historical Materials
Below is historical information related to the Lane work above. To see complete information on a subject on the Historical Materials page, click on the subject name (in bold and underlined).

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Boston Locales, Businesses, & Buildings: Boston Harbor

During the years after the war of 1812 and before the Civil War, the port of Boston was a center of American deep-water shipping. Trading with China, India, and the West Indies, which had fueled maritime growth in the early years of the century gave way to re-exporting these goods and foreign trade based on the shoe and textile trades. Although second to New York in terms of shipping tonnage, many of New York's shipbuilders and merchants were Boston based. In addition, ship building continued in Boston. Also, the coastal trade (the domestic trade up and down the coast) was still the most efficient way to transport goods and passengers, and accounts for much of the tonnage and shipping traffic.

Although dwarfed by New York, Boston was an active port in the 1840s and 1850s. Its registered tonnage rose from 149,186 in 1840 to 270,510 in 1850. The harbor was a crowded place. For example, on September 18, 1850, 32 ships, 49 barks, 47 brigs, and 52 schooners were reported at Boston.(1)

In 1849, foreign entries at Boston included 215 ships, 305 barks, 908 brigs, and 52 schooners. Coastwise arrivals included 193 ships, 488 barks, 1087 brigs, 4287 schooners, 89 sloops, and 65 schooners.(2)

(1) W.H. Bunting, p.8.

(2) Ibid.

For more information:

Samuel Eliot Morrison, The Maritime History of Massachusetts, 1783-1860

W.H. Bunting, Portrait of a Port, Boston 1852-1914 Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1971.

artwork
View of the City of Boston from Dorchester Heights
Robert Havhell, Jr.
1841
Boston Atheneum
[+]
artwork
Vue du Port de Boston
Garneray del.; Himely sculp.
14 1/2 x 18 in.
Boston Public Library
[+]
artwork
Boston Harbor from Constitution Wharf
Robert Salmon
1833
Oil on canvas
26 1/4 x 41 in.
United States Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, Md.
[+]
publication
1848 street plan of Boston showing location of Tremont Temple
S. N. Dickinson
1848
Printed map inside Boston Almanac
Published by B. B. Mussey & Co. and Thomas Groom, Boston
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive (R910.45 B65 1848)

Map at front of almanac with Tremont Temple highlighted.

Also filed under: Boston City Views »   //  Maps »   //  Tremont Temple »

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publication
Boston Harbor Signal Book
John T. Smith
Boston: William White, 1857.
Harvard Depository: Widener (NAV 578.57)

For digitized version, click here.

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artwork
"Britannia" in the Ice
A. de Vaudricourt
Tinted lithograph with color by Bouvé & Sharp, drawn on stone by A. de Vaudricourt from a sketch by John C. King
17 1/4 x 24 7/8 in.
American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.
Image: American Antiquarian Society
[+]
artwork
Simpson's Patent Drydock
M. M. Tidd
c.1860
Tinted lithograph with hand coloring
13 7/8 x 22 3/8 in.
Boston Athenaeum

From Sally Pierce and Catharina Slautterback, Boston Lithography, 1825–1880: The Boston Atheneaum Collection (BostonAthenaeum1991): "Tidd drew this print when he was a consulting engineer for Simpson's. He has depicted the clipper ship 'Southern Cross' in the dry dock. Built in 1851, she was known for having sailed from San Francisco to Hong Kong in the record breaking time of thirty-two days. The Bethlehem Ship Building Company eventually took over this location and operated a dry dock there until the mid 1940s."

Image: Boston Athenaeum
[+]
illustration
The "Britannia" steamship leaving Boston, U.S.
Wood engraving in The Illustrated London News (October 23, 1847) p.272
Library of Congress Catalog Number 2004671768
Image: Illustrated London News
[+]
chart
U.S. Coast Pilot chart
1893
U.S. Coast Pilot, Atlantic Coast Part 3.
Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

Detail of Coast Pilot chart showing Point Allerton.

[+]
artwork
View of Boston Harbor
John White Allen Scott
oil on panel
1853
Bostonian Society (1884.0209)

Also filed under: Scott, John W. A. »

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artwork
View of Boston in 1848 from East Boston
C.W. Burton, lithographer, Edwin Whitefield, artist
Boston : Published by Whitefield and Smith, 1848.
1 print : lithograph, tinted ; image 50.3 x 111.9 cm., 68.7 x 121.2 cm.
View of the city of Boston from East Boston showing Boston Harbor. The wharves of East Boston can be seen in the foreground.
Number nine of thirty-eight city views published in "Whitefield's Original Views of (North) American Cities (Scenery).
On stone by Charles W. Burton after a drawing by Edwin Whitefield.
Inscribed in brown ink lower right corner of sheet: "Boston Athenaeum from Josiah Quincy. September 28, 1848."
Local Notes:#1848.1.
Image: Boston Athenaeum
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[ top]

E. G. Austin was Captain; he was also president of the Tiger Boat Club.

Related tables: Tiger Boat Club »
publication
Constitution and By-Laws of the Tiger Boat Club of Boston
1837
Printed by John Eastburn, Boston
Peabody Essex Museum Library (GV777.T544 1837)
12 pages

Also filed under: Tiger Boat Club »

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[ top]
Boston Locales, Businesses, & Buildings: State House

The "new" State House is located across from the Boston Common on the top of Beacon Hill, and serves as the Massachusetts state capital. The land was once owned by Massachusetts's first elected governor, John Hancock. Charles Bullfinch was the architect of the building, which was completed in 1798.

The dome was originally roofed with wood shingles, which leaked. In 1802 it was covered with copper by Paul Revere's Revere Copper Company. The dome was first painted gray and then light yellow before being gilded with gold leaf in 1874.

photo (historical)
Massachusetts State House c. 1860
c 1860s
Photograph
Courtesy of the Bostonian Society
Image: Courtesy of the Bostonian Society
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artwork
Old State House in Flames
Robert Salmon
The Bostonian Society (1883.0107)
lithograph
1832
"Salmon pinxt" at lower left; "Pendleton, Boston" at lower right
[+]
View of Boston
c.1848
Lithograph
Published by N. Currier, New York
Library of Congress Catalog Number 2002698122
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[ top]
Vessels (Specific / Named): "Constitution" (U.S. Frigate)
[Related to impression: American Antiquarian Society (inv. 468)]

The frigate "Constitution," 44 guns, was built at Boston in 1797, George Claighorne, builder. Rebuilt in 1833 with the notorious figure of Andrew Jackson fitted in 1834. Despite its mutilation, the figure was repaired and remained on the ship until 1847–48, when it was replaced by a new figure of Jackson. This second figure remained on the vessel until 1875, when it was replaced by a billethead. In subsequent restorations new billetheads were installed.

Although a figurehead is barely visible in Lane's lithograph A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew, 1837 (inv. 468), when the correct number of gunports at gun deck level (sixteen), together with the Boston setting, Lane's depiction of this vessel as "Constitution" appears very certain.

The same cannot be said for The "Constitution" in Boston Harbor, c.1848–49 (inv. 243), wherein the warship at center has only twelve gunports at gun deck level, reducing her rating to a sloop-of war. Because the gun deck has a spar deck above it, which can mount a limited number of guns forward and aft, this vessel could be rated as a first-class sloop of war. Her overall appearance is that of a warship rating smaller than a frigate.

– Erik Ronnberg

Related tables: Ship (Full-Rigged) »
artwork
The "Constitution" in Boston Harbor
Fitz Henry Lane
1848–49
Oil on canvas
15 3/4 x 23 1/4 in.
Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tenn., Museum Purchase (1968.4)

Detail of navel vessel.

Image: Hunter Museum of Art
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In general, brigs were small to medium size merchant vessels, generally ranging between 80 and 120 feet in hull length. Their hull forms ranged from sharp-ended (for greater speed; see Brig "Antelope" in Boston Harbor, 1863 (inv. 43)) to “kettle-bottom” (a contemporary term for full-ended with wide hull bottom for maximum cargo capacity; see Ships in Ice off Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, 1850s (inv. 44) and Boston Harbor, c. 1850 (inv. 48)). The former were widely used in the packet trade (coastwise or transoceanic); the latter were bulk-carriers designed for long passages on regular routes. (1) This rig was favored by Gloucester merchants in the Surinam Trade, which led to vessels so-rigged being referred to by recent historians as Surinam brigs (see Brig "Cadet" in Gloucester Harbor, late 1840s (inv. 13) and Gloucester Harbor (not published)). (2)

Brigs are two-masted square-rigged vessels which fall into three categories:

Full-rigged brigs—simply called brigs—were fully square-rigged on both masts. A sub-type—called a snow—had a trysail mast on the aft side of the lower main mast, on which the spanker, with its gaff and boom, was set. (3)

Brigantines were square-rigged on the fore mast, but set only square topsails on the main mast. This type was rarely seen in America in Lane’s time, but was still used for some naval vessels and European merchant vessels. The term is commonly misapplied to hermaphrodite brigs. (4)

Hermaphrodite brigs—more commonly called half-brigs by American seamen and merchants—were square-rigged only on the fore mast, the main mast being rigged with a spanker and a gaff-topsail. Staysails were often set between the fore and main masts, there being no gaff-rigged sail on the fore mast.

– Erik Ronnberg

References:

1. Howard I. Chapelle, The National Watercraft Collection (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1960), 64–68.

2. Alfred Mansfield Brooks, Gloucester Recollected: A Familiar History (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1974), 62–74. A candid and witty view of Gloucester’s Surinam Trade, which employed brigs and barks.

3. R[ichard] H[enry] Dana, Jr., The Seaman's Friend (Boston: Thomas Groom & Co., 1841. 13th ed., 1873), 100 and Plate 4 and captions; and M.H. Parry, et al., Aak to Zumbra: A Dictionary of the World's Watercraft (Newport News, VA: The Mariners’ Museum, 2000), 95.

4. Parry, 95, see Definition 1.

artwork
Brig "Cadet" in Gloucester Harbor
Fitz Henry Lane
late 1840s
Oil on canvas
17 1/4 x 25 3/4 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Isabel Babson Lane, 1946 (1147.a)
Photo: Cape Ann Museum

Detail of brig "Cadet."

Also filed under: "Cadet" (Brig) »

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chart
Chart showing the voyage of the brig Cadet
c.1980
Painting on board
72 x 48 in.
Collection of Erik Ronnberg

Chart showing the voyage of the brig Cadet to Surinam and return, March 10–June 11, 1840.

Image: Erik Ronnberg

Also filed under: "Cadet" (Brig) »   //  Surinam Trade »

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illustration
Full-rigged Brig
Engraving in R. H. Dana, The Seaman's Friend, 13th ed. (Thomas Groom & Co. Publisher, 1873)

Detail of a full-rigged brig is square-rigged at both her masts. 

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artwork
Silhouettes of vessel types
Charles G. Davis
Book illustrations from "Shipping and Craft in Silhouette" by Charles G. Davis, Salem, Mass. Marine Research Society, 1929. Selected images
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The term "ship," as used by nineteenth-century merchants and seamen, referred to a large three-masted sailing vessel which was square-rigged on all three masts. (1) In that same period, sailing warships of the largest classes were also called ships, or more formally, ships of the line, their size qualifying them to engage the enemy in a line of battle. (2) In the second half of the nineteenth century, as sailing vessels were replaced by engine-powered vessels, the term ship was applied to any large vessel, regardless of propulsion or use. (3)

Ships were often further defined by their specialized uses or modifications, clipper ships and packet ships being the most noted examples. Built for speed, clipper ships were employed in carrying high-value or perishable goods over long distances. (4) Lane painted formal portraits of clipper ships for their owners, as well as generic examples for his port paintings. (5)

Packet ships were designed for carrying capacity which required some sacrifice in speed while still being able to make scheduled passages within a reasonable time frame between regular destinations. In the packet trade with European ports, mail, passengers, and bulk cargos such as cotton, textiles, and farm produce made the eastward passages. Mail, passengers (usually in much larger numbers), and finished wares were the usual cargos for return trips. (6) Lane depicted these vessels in portraits for their owners, and in his port scenes of Boston and New York Harbors.

Ships in specific trades were often identified by their cargos: salt ships which brought salt to Gloucester for curing dried fish; tea clippers in the China Trade; coffee ships in the West Indies and South American trades, and  cotton ships bringing cotton to mills in New England or to European ports.  Some trades were identified by the special destination of a ship’s regular voyages; hence Gloucester vessels in the trade with Surinam were identified as Surinam ships (or barks, or brigs, depending on their rigs). In Lane’s Gloucester Harbor scenes, there are likely (though not identifiable) examples of Surinam ships, but only the ship "California" in his depiction of the Burnham marine railway in Gloucester (see Three Master on the Gloucester Railways, 1857 (inv. 29)) is so identified. (7)

– Erik Ronnberg

References:

1. R[ichard)] H[enry] Dana, Jr., The Seaman’s Friend, 13th ed. (Boston: Thomas Groom & Co., 1873), p. 121 and Plate IV with captions.

2. A Naval Encyclopaedia (Philadelphia: L. R. Hamersly & Co., 1884), 739, 741.

3.  M.H. Parry, et al., Aak to Zumbra: A Dictionary of the World’s Watercraft (Newport News, VA: The Mariners’ Museum, 2000), 536.

4. Howard I. Chapelle, The History of American Sailing Ships (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1935), 281–87.

5. Ibid.

6. Howard I. Chapelle, The National Watercraft Collection (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1960), 26–30.

7. Alfred Mansfield Brooks, Gloucester Recollected: A Familiar History (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1974), 67–69.

Golden State
1884
Photograph
From American Clipper Ships 1833–1858, by Octavius T. Howe and Frederick C. Matthews, vol. 1 (Salem, MA: Marine Research Society, 1926).

Photo caption reads: "'Golden State' 1363 tons, built at New York, in 1852. From a photograph showing her in dock at Quebec in 1884."

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photo (current)
"Friendship of Salem"
Built in 1998

A replica of an early nineteenth-century full-rigged ship.

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artwork
Homeward Bound
c.1865
Hand-colored lithograph
Published by N. Currier, New York
Library of Congress (2002695891)
[+]
illustration
Ship
1885
Engraving from Merchant Vessels of the United States (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office)

Engraving of ship.

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artwork
Packet "Nonantum" Riding out a Gale
Samuel Walters
1842
Oil on canvas
24 x 35 in.
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.

Walters' painting depicts the "Nonantum" homeward bound for Boston from Liverpool in 1842. The paddle-steamer is one of the four Clyde-built Britannia-class vessels, of which one is visible crossing in the opposite direction.

Image: Peabody Essex Museum
[+]
illustration
Ship
Engraving in R. H. Dana, The Seaman's Friend, 13th ed. (Thomas Groom & Co. Publisher, 1873)

A ship is square-rigged throughout; that is, she has tops, and carries square sails on all three of her masts.

[+]
artwork
Silhouettes of vessel types
Charles G. Davis
Book illustrations from "Shipping and Craft in Silhouette" by Charles G. Davis, Salem, Mass. Marine Research Society, 1929. Selected images
[+]
[ top]

Sloops are one-masted sailing vessels which, in American examples, set fore-and-aft sails but usually no square sails. Thus, staysails, or jibs, are set from the fore stay(s) and a quadrilateral mainsail is set from the mast and spread by a gaff and a boom. The larger sloops would often set a triangular topsail over the main sail. (1)

The sloops depicted by Lane were used in various coastal trades, each with its own requirements, which dictated the sizes and details of their hulls and rigs. Most elegant were the packet sloops, which transported passengers, mail, and higher value goods between specific ports on regular schedules. They usually measured between sixty and seventy-five feet on deck, as dictated by anticipated shipping volume. Finely finished, they usually had stern galleries—a row of windows across the transom with ornamental moldings—and varied color schemes. Examples of packet sloops are in Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck, 1844 (inv. 14) (center, middle ground) and Study of Ships, 1851 (inv. 141) (foreground), both of which probably made trips between Gloucester and Boston, or Gloucester and Newburyport. (2)

Another specialized sloop of similar size was the stone sloop, used to ship granite blocks from stone-loading piers around Cape Ann to other ports. They were similar in rig to packet sloops, but of heavier construction with greater hold capacity and absence of decoration. Their stout appearance was augmented by simple color schemes, or even tarred topsides, reflecting the wear and strain imposed by their heavy cargos. Lane depicted these vessels in his painting of Fresh Water Cove from Dolliver's Neck, Gloucester, Early 1850s (inv. 45), with a sloop (at left) preparing to load at wharf-side, and another (at right) sailing out with a cargo. (3)

Sloops of the more work-a-day sort are the most commonly seen examples in Lane’s paintings, most of them appearing in his views of Boston Harbor. Usually deep-loaded and looking weather-worn, they contrast sharply with the packet- and clipper ships which dominate the scene. Sloops of this type are rarely seen in Lane’s paintings of Gloucester Harbor and the Maine coast, although they were certainly needed for short-distance transportation (see Bear Island, Northeast Harbor, 1855 (inv. 24), View of Camden Mountains from Penobscot Bay, c.1852 (inv. 207), Sunrise on the Maine Coast, Mount Desert Island, 1856 (not published)). For coastal Maine, lack of railroads for heavier freight and greater distances between ports made the use of schooners with larger carrying capacity a greater necessity. (4)

In Lane’s views of New York Harbor, a regional sloop variant, the Hudson River Sloop, appears in New York Harbor, c.1855 (inv. 46) (bow view, left) and A Calm Sea, c.1860 (inv. 6) (stern view, right). This type had become prominent in the Hudson River packet trade between New York City, Albany, and beyond to points north and west as far as the eastern terminus of the Erie Canal.  Large vessels for their rigs, they were well-finished and well-kept, reflecting pride of ownership and rivalry among their owners and crews. (5)

– Erik Ronnberg

References:

1. A Naval Encyclopaedia (Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1884. Reprint: Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1971), 59.  See first definition of "sloop" and definition of "sloop-rigged."

2. Robert Greenhalgh Albion, William A. Baker, and Benjamin Woods Labaree, New England and the Sea (Mystic, CT: Mystic Seaport Museum, 1972; reprinted in 1994), 127–28.

3. Howard I. Chapelle, The History of American Sailing Ships (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1935), 300–02.

4. Ibid., 300.

5. Ibid., 298–300.

illustration
Sloop
Engraving in R. H. Dana, The Seaman's Friend, 13th ed. (Thomas Groom & Co. Publisher, 1873)

A sloop has one mast, fore-and-aft rigged.

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publication
Bermudian sloop
1884
A Naval Encyclopaedia:
Dictionary of nautical words and phrases
Special Articles on Naval Art and Science
Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co.

'Mudian, "Mugian, or Bermudian. A boat special to the Bermuda islands, usually decked, with the exception of a hatch; from 2 to 20 tons burden; it is short, of good beam, and great draft of water abaft, the stem and keel forming a curved line. It carries an immense quantity of ballast. Besides a long main- and short jib-boom, it has a long, taperking, raking mast, stepped just over the forefoot, generally unsupported by shrouds or stays; on it a jib-headed mainsail is hoisted to a height of twice, and sometimes three times, the length of the keel. This sail is triangular, stretched at its foot by a long boom. The only other sail is a small foresail or jib. They claim to be the fastest craft in the world for working to windward in smooth water, it being recorded of one that she made five miles dead to windward in the hour during a race; and though they may be laid over until they fill with water, they will not capsize.

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artwork
Bermudian sloop in St. Georges Harbor, Bermuda
Edward James
c. 1864
St. George's Historical Society
Detail of painting of St. George's Harbour, Bermuda, during US Civil War, with a Confederate blockade runner anchored in the foreground.

Also filed under: Puerto Rico »

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object
Scale model of stone sloop "Albert Baldwin"
William Niemi
c.1940
Wood, metal, cordage, cloth, paint.
Scale: ¼ in. = 1ft. (1:48)
Cape Ann Museum. Gift of Roland and Martta Blanchet (1997.17.3)

Although built in 1890 and larger than the stone sloops of Lane’s time, the "Albert Baldwin’s" hull form, rig, and loading boom are very similar to those of the 1840s and 1850s.

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artwork
Silhouettes of vessel types
Charles G. Davis
Book illustrations from "Shipping and Craft in Silhouette" by Charles G. Davis, Salem, Mass. Marine Research Society, 1929. Selected images
[+]
[ top]

The ensign of the United States refers to the flag of the United States when used as a maritime flag to indentify nationality. As required on entering port, a vessel would fly her own ensign at the stern, but a conventional  token of respect to the host country would be to fly the flag of the host country (the United States in Boston Harbor, for example) at the foremast. See The "Britannia" Entering Boston Harbor, 1848 (inv. 49) for an example of a ship doing this. The American ensign often had the stars in the canton arranged in a circle with one large star in the center; an alternative on merchant ensigns was star-shaped constellation. In times of distress a ship would fly the ensign upside down, as can be seen in Wreck of the Roma, 1846 (inv. 250).

 The use of flags on vessels is different from the use of flags on land. The importance and history of the flagpole in Fresh Water Cove in Gloucester is still being studied.

The modern meaning of the flag was forged in December 1860, when Major Robert Anderson moved the U.S. garrison from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Adam Goodheart argues this was the opening move of the American Civil War, and the flag was used throughout northern states to symbolize American nationalism and rejection of secessionism.

Before that day, the flag had served mostly as a military ensign or a convenient marking of American territory, flown from forts, embassies, and ships, and displayed on special occasions like American Independence day. But in the weeks after Major Anderson's surprising stand, it became something different. Suddenly the Stars and Stripes flew—as it does today, and especially as it did after the September 11 attacks in 2001—from houses, from storefronts, from churches; above the village greens and college quads. For the first time American flags were mass-produced rather than individually stitched and even so, manufacturers could not keep up with demand. As the long winter of 1861 turned into spring, that old flag meant something new. The abstraction of the Union cause was transfigured into a physical thing: strips of cloth that millions of people would fight for, and many thousands die for.

– Adam Goodheart, Prologue of 1861: The Civil War Awakening (2011).

 
photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 52 Fresh Water Cove
John S. E. Rogers, Publisher
1860s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

A view of a Cove on the western side of Gloucester Harbor, with the landing at Brookbank. Houses are seen in the woods back. A boat with two men is in the foreground.

Also filed under: Brookbank »   //  Fresh Water Cove »   //  Historic Photographs »

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publication
Oak Hall Pictorial: This is Oak Hall, in North Street Boston
Friend to American Enterprise
Unpaginated booklet
Courtesy American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. (CL.F9116.011.1854 CL.F9116.011.1854)

Also filed under: Oak Hall »

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artwork
Oak Hall Pictorial: This is the flag that waves on high
Friend to American Enterprise
Unpaginated booklet
Courtesy American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. (CL.F9116.011.1854)

Also filed under: Oak Hall »

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The use of signal flags, for ship-to-ship communication, generally preceded land-based chains of maritime semaphore stations, the latter using flags or rotating arms, until the advent of the electric or magnetic telegraph.

Until the end of the Napoleonic wars, merchant ships generally sailed in convoy as ordered by the escorting warship(s) using a few simple flags. Peace brought independent voyaging, the end of the convoy system, and the realization by various authorities that merchant vessels now needed their own separate means of signaling to each other. This resulted in a handful of rival codes, each with its individual flags and syntax. In general, they each had a section enabling ship identification and also a "vocabulary" section for transmitting selected messages. It was not until 1857 that a common Commercial Code became available for international use, only gradually replacing the earlier ones. All existed side by side for a decade or two.

Signal systems for American ships were originally intended to identify a vessel by name and owner; only later were more advanced systems developed to convey messages. Most basic were private signals, or "house flags", each of a different design or pattern, identifying the vessel's owner; identification charts were local and poorly distributed, limiting their usefulness. A secondary signal, a flag or large pennant bearing the vessel's name, was sometimes flown by larger ships, but pictorial records of them are uncommon. These private signal flags usually flew from the foremasthead or main masthead if a three master ship. Pilot boats had their own identifying flags, blue and white as seen in Spitfire Entering Boston Harbor (not published). Small vessels, such as schooners, often had a "tell-tale" pennant, an often-unmarked and often red flag, that was used to determine wind direction.

A numerical code flag system, identifying vessels by the code numbers, was introduced by Captain Frederick Marryat R.N. in 1817 for English vessels. American vessels soon adopted this system. Elford's "marine telegraphic system" was the first American equivalent to the Marryat code flags, first issued in 1823, and with changes, remaining in use until the late 1850s. Most of the signal flags on vessels depicted by Lane use Elford's; Brig "Antelope" in Boston Harbor, 1863 (inv. 43) is a noteworthy example of his depiction of Marryat's. The Elford's Code was popular in America on account of its simplicity and only required six blue and white flags. Eventually these changed to red and white, although it is unclear exactly when this happened. Instructions and a key ot the Elford's Code's use are included in successive editions of the Boston Harbor Signal Book.

Whereas the other codes employ at least ten flags of diverse shapes and colours, there are only six Elford flags in total, representing the numbers one to six. All are uniformly rectangular and monochrome in colour (either blue and white or red and white—or even black and white as in an early photograph). Selected from these six flags each individual vessel is allotted a combination of four flags to be prominently displayed as a vertical hoist. Reading from above down these convey its "designated number." Armed with this number and the type of vessel (e.g. ship, bark, brig, schooner /or steamer) the subject can be uniquely identified by reference to a copy of the Boston Harbor Signal Book for the appropriate year.

– A. Sam Davidson 

illustration
Table of private signals, Boston, c.1860
Allan Forbes, Ralph M. Eastman
c.1860
As reproduced in Yankee Sailing Ship Cards by Allan Forbes and Ralph M. Eastman (Boston: State Street Trust Company, 1948).
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publication
Boston Harbor Signal Book
John T. Smith
Boston: William White, 1857.
Harvard Depository: Widener (NAV 578.57)

For digitized version, click here.

Also filed under: Boston Harbor »

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publication
Elford Code (from "Signal Book for Boston Harbor")
Hudson & Smith
1848
Boston: Eastburn's Press
New York Public Library

Complete book is included in Google Books, click here.

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publication
Merchants' private signals
M. V. Brewington
c. 1833
In The American Neptune 3, no. 3 (July 1943): 205–21.
Peabody Essex Museum

Descriptions of Marryat, Elford, Rogers, and commercial code signal systems, and private signals. Includes illustrations of flag systems with color keys.

Image: Peabody Essex Museum
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Lithography Lithography: Moore's, T. - Lith. - Boston
[Related to impression: American Antiquarian Society (inv. 468)]

English-born Thomas Moore was the successor to William S. Pendleton's lithography shop in 1836. Prior to this changing of hands, Moore worked in Pendleton's shop for years as a clerk and bookkeeper. During his four years (1836-40) at Pendleton's 204 Washington Street address, he had under his employ many famous artists, including F.H. Lane, Robert Cooke, and Benjamin Champney. Moore's Lithography printed the usual variety of work, including portraits, town views, public institutions, maps, plans, certificates, cards, etc. In 1840, Moore sold his Boston shop to B. W. Thayer, ending his lithographic career in Boston.

This information has been summarized from Boston Lithography 1825-1880 by Sally Pierce and Catharina Slautterback.

Related tables: Barnstable, Mass. »
publication
Mammoth Cod Quickstep
Unknown
1839
T. Moore's Lithography, Boston
12 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.
20 x 16 3/4 in (Framed)
Cape Ann Museum, Museum Purchase (2014.089.2)
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Lithography Lithography: Parker & Ditson, Pub. – Boston
[Related to impression: American Antiquarian Society (inv. 468)]

In 1837 this Boston publisher was located at 107 Washington Street and published and sold sheet music with Lane's design for 50 cents.

The business was a partnership of Samuel H. Parker (d. 1864) and Oliver Ditson (1811–88). They went into partnership in 1833/34 and remained in business together until their partnership was dissolved in 1842. Ditson continued as a music printer and publisher and in 1857 he took John C. Haynes as partner in Oliver Ditson & Company. Ditson was one of the most prolific and successful music publishers of the era.

– Catharina Slautterback

publication
Arouse ye gay comrades
Bufford (in image); Thayer (lith.)
1840
Parker & Ditson
Courtesy American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.

Dedicated to the Tiger Boat Club.

Image: American Antiquarian Society
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One of the first uses of lithography, after its invention in France in the late eighteenth century and its development in America, was for sheet music covers. The music itself was printed from engraved copper plates, which was necessary for the clarity and evenness demanded by the public for the music. However, lithography provided a quick and inexpensive way to provide enticing pictorial title pages, or covers, for sheet music. Pendleton's shop produced the first lithographic sheet music cover printed in the United States in 1826. Much of Lane's work at Pendleton's involved sheet music covers, and examples here by other artists show some of the conventions around the designs.

This information has been summarized from Boston Lithography 1825–1880 by Sally Pierce and Catharina Slautterback.

illustration
Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp
American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.
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publication
Arouse ye gay comrades
Bufford (in image); Thayer (lith.)
1840
Parker & Ditson
Courtesy American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.

Dedicated to the Tiger Boat Club.

Image: American Antiquarian Society
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illustration
Brightly, Boys, Brightly: A Rowing Quartet
Boston Public Library, Music Collection, 8050.44#12

Comp. Marshall S. Pike, Esq.

Image: Boston Public Library
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publication
Clipper Polka
Aborsong, publisher
1851-1856
Paper, ink
13 x 10 in (33.02 x 25.4 cm)
Peabody Essex Museum (M26784)

"composed and inscribed to Colonel Baquiere, Owner of the "America" Schooner, 1851-1856"

Image: Peabody Essex Museum
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publication
Mammoth Cod Quickstep
Unknown
1839
T. Moore's Lithography, Boston
12 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.
20 x 16 3/4 in (Framed)
Cape Ann Museum, Museum Purchase (2014.089.2)
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illustration
North-End Forever – Hull Street Guards
John Holloway
1838
Boston Public Library, Sheet Music Collection, S.80#12
Image: Boston Public Library
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artwork
Soft Glides the Sea, Bounding and Free
Pendleton's Lithography
1831
Lithographic sheet music
11 x 7 1/4 in.
Boston Athenaeum
Image: Boston Athenaeum
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illustration
The America Schottisch
Wm. Hall & Son, publisher
Late 19th century
Ink, paper
13 x 10 in (33.02 x 25.4 cm)
Peabody Essex Museum
Image: Peabody Essex Museum
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illustration
The Clipper America Polka, sheet music cover
J.O. Sheppard, publisher
late 19th century
Ink on paper
13 x 10 inches
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass. (M26750)
Image: Peabody Essex Museum
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Provenance (Information known to date; research ongoing.)

See IMPRESSIONS tab for provenance.

Exhibition History

1966 DeCordova Museum: DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, Fitz Hugh Lane: The First Major Exhibition, no. 69, as Capt. E. G. Austin's Quick Step, "A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew".
1985b Museum of Fine Arts: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, Musical Instruments Case [Impression: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (inv. 524)].
1995–96 Museum of Fine Arts: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, Boston Views [Impression: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (inv. 524)].

Published References

Wilmerding 1963: "The Lithographs of Fitz Hugh Lane," p. 33.
Wilmerding 1966a: Fitz Hugh Lane: The First Major Exhibition, no. 69, as Capt. E. G. Austin's Quick Step, "A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew". ⇒ includes text
Tatham 1973: The Lure of the Striped Pig: The Illustration of Popular Music in America 1820–1870, no. 17. [Impression: Boston Athenaeum (inv. 422)].
Crossman 1985: "Lithographs of Fitz Hugh Lane," fig. 14, p.88. ⇒ includes text
Craig 2006a: Fitz H. Lane: An Artist's Voyage through Nineteenth-Century America, fig. 22, as A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew.

Impression information

American Antiquarian Society (inv. 468)

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Photo: Courtesy, American Antiquarian Society (inv. 468)
A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew
F.H. Lane del Moore's Lithog. Boston 1837 Pub. Parker & Ditson, 107 Washn St., Boston Price 50 cents.
American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.

American Antiquarian Society (inv. 531)

no image available
A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew
American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.

Boston Athenaeum (inv. 422)

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Photo: Boston Athenaeum
Captn. E. G. Austin's Quick Step
Inscribed across bottom: F. H. Lane del. Moore's Lithogy, Boston Boston: Published by Parker & Ditson, 1837.
Boston Athenaeum
Provenance

Boston Public Library (inv. 587)

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Photo: Boston Public Library (inv. 587)
A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew
Entered according to Act of Congress by Parker & Ditson in the year 1837 in the Clerk's office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
Boston Public Library

Cape Ann Museum (inv. 384)

no image available
A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew
F.H. Lane del Moore's Lithog. Boston 1837 Pub. Parker & Ditson, 107 Washn St., Boston Price 50 cents.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Hyde Cox, 1994 (1994.6.1)
On view at the Cape Ann Museum

The Huntington Library (inv. 726)

no image available
A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew
Inscribed across bottom: F. H. Lane del. Moore's Lithogy, Boston Boston: Published by Parker & Ditson, 1837.
The Huntington Library, San Marino, California. The Jay T. Last Collection.

Johns Hopkins University (inv. 761)

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Photo: Johns Hopkins University (inv. 761)
A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew
Inscribed across bottom: F. H. Lane del. Moore's Lithogy, Boston Boston: Published by Parker & Ditson, 1837.
Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection, Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Johns Hopkins University (inv. 763)

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Photo: Johns Hopkins University (inv. 763)
Capt. E. G. Austin's Quick Step,
Inscribed across bottom: F. H. Lane del. Moore's Lithogy, Boston Boston: Published by Parker & Ditson, 1837.
Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music, Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (inv. 524)

no image available
Captain E.G. Austin's Quick Step
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ellen Kelleran Gardner Fund (1978.66)
Citation: "Capt. E. G. Austin's Quick Step, "A Yankee Ship and a Yankee Crew", 1837 (inv. 480)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=480 (accessed August 20, 2017).
Record last updated August 12, 2017. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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