National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Figurehead from Figurehead from "Bartholomew Gosnold"
Rendered by American 20th Century (artist), 1935/1942
watercolor and graphite on paper
overall: 43.3 x 33.5 cm (17 1/16 x 13 3/16 in.)
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Woodcarving from the Index of American Design
Object 2 of 26

Busts or half-length figureheads were often used for small ships. This piece was made for a New Bedford whaler called the Bartholomew Gosnold. New England shipbuilders were producing whaling ships before the Revolution, and by the time the Bartholomew Gosnold was launched in 1832, New Bedford was the whaling capital of the world. Whalers were relatively small working ships with modest decorations. This portraitlike bust, dressed in the costume of the time, with an eager, animated expression, is modeled after Yankee skippers of the early nineteenth century.

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