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The Constitution and the Guerriere

Artist:
Thomas Chambers (1808–after 1866)
Date:
ca. 1845
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
24 3/4 x 31 1/4 in. (62.9 x 79.4 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1962
Accession Number:
62.256.5
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 757
Born in England, Chambers worked in the United States as a prolific marine, landscape, and “fancy” painter between 1832 and about 1866. In the 1930s and 1940s, with the discovery of the Museum’s signed painting, Chambers emerged as a folk original, embraced posthumously by modern art enthusiasts as the “American Rousseau.” 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.
Signature: [at lower left]: T. Chambers
with Macbeth Gallery, New York, 1942; Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, Cambridge, Maryland, 1959–1962
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