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More about "'Dashing Wave' clipper ship off Boston Light, 1855"

William Bradford's 'Dashing Wave' clipper ship off Boston Light, painted in 1855 when the ship was only two years old is a stark, almost minimal reproduction of the presence of this towering feat of engineering. Bradford, one of the leading Romantic painters of nineteenth century America achieved a degree of renown in his day for painting seascapes, events of a marine nature, and arctic vistas. Having grown up the state of Massachusetts, 'Dashing Wave' clipper ship off Boston Light is an early work, dating from the time the artist was making a living selling portraits of famous ships. Soon making a name for himself for his stunning Romantic reproductions of the New England, Nova Scotia and Labrador coastlines, Bradford made enough money to undertake a series of expeditions to the arctic. During one visit to England he was so celebrated by the burgeoning community of explorers that he even received a commission to paint for Queen Victoria. Returning to the United States, the artist, like so many others from the 1870s until the end of the century, made a series journeys through the frontier lands of the wild west, compiling sketches of the scenes he saw there.

Bradford was often closely associated with the Hudson River School, that proud bastion of nineteenth century American art embodied by the spiritual wanderings of Academy-influenced Romantic painters. Centred around the stunning surroundings of New England, the group dominated much of American painting until the modernist era. 'Dashing Wave' clipper ship off Boston Light could not be more of a departure from their style, appearing as an unfussy, self-confident reproduction of the likeness of this quick clipper. This ship, built in Fernald & Pettigrew, Portsmouth, was first captained by the great Captain John B. Fisk and represents a unique period in American maritime history.

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