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The Schooner "William Bayles"

1854
Origin: America, New York, New York
Unframed:32 3/4" x 52" (83.2 cm. x 132.1 cm.) and Framed: 37 5/8" x 56 3/4" (95.6 cm. x 144.1 cm.)
Oil on canvas with graphite details
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1963.111.2
Two-masted sailing vessel with bright green-painted body moves from right to left across picture plane. Six sailboats are visible in the distance on the blue-grey water, while trees and rocky landscape are visible beyond at the horizon. Four men can be seen on the schooner that is the subject of the painting; they all wear black hats, two wear black coats, and two are in shirtsleeves. The sky is a peach color at the horizon, moving to dull blue at top.
Label:James Bard and his twin brother, John, rank among America’s most acclaimed painters of steamboats and small sailing vessels. Although the brothers collaborated on about two dozen pictures, most Bard works are signed or attributed to James alone. James is known to have completed three portraits of the schooner William Bayles, two in 1854 and another in 1860. The commissioners of all three paintings remain unknown but both 1854 versions bear the sail maker’s name on the mainsails.

The William Bayles was a 67 ton schooner built in Nyack, New York in 1853 by John B. Voriz. Although the schooner changed owners, masters and home ports several times throughout her life, it is thought that one of her first contracts was hauling stone from a Tarrytown quarry to New York City. The William Bayles operated out of the port of New York until 1862, after which she is listed as serving out of various ports in Connecticut, New Hampshire and finally Massachusetts, from whence she was reported “lost at sea” in March of 1874.
Provenance:Martin B. Grossman, New York, NY; Herbert W. Hemphill, Jr., New York, NY; Mary Allis, Farifield, Conn.
Mark(s):See "Inscriptions."
Inscription(s):"WILLIAM BAYLES," is painted on the schooner's bow and on one of its flags. In the canvas's lower right corner is painted, in script, "Drawn & Painted by James Bard,/ 162 Perry St N Y. July 1854." The block lettering on the bottom of the mainsail is partially illegible, but it appears to read "B" (illeg. material; possibly only the artist's repositioning of the letter B) & B[EN]NET. SAIL MAKER. N.Y." Penciled script on the backs of the upper and lower stretchers is illegible. The sailmaker's surname is deduced from a more legible inscription on an 1860 James Bard painting of the same vessel. (See "Related Works").