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Buttersworth, James

(1817-1894) James Buttersworth was born in Middlesex County, England, and is presumed to have been the son of painter Thomas Buttersworth (1768-1842), though little is known of him before he emigrated to America. He settled in West Hoboke, New Jersey about 1850 and enjoyed a floursihing career as a marine painter. New York Harbor provided the background for many of his works. He worked with Nathaniel Currier in 1847 and when the firm became Currier and Ives, many of Buttersworth’s paintings were made into prints by them. From 1850 to 1852 he sold his work through the American Art Union in New York, from which he garnered a commission to make drawings for British yacht races in 1851. His career spanned sixty years and about 600 of his paintings have been recorded. He painted America’s Cup races as well as warships and historic naval actions, and all types of vessels from racing clipper ships and yachts to steamers. He was particularly adept at capturing the grace and majesty of sailing vessels, frequently portraying them from the diagonal and thus underscoring the sense of rapid movement. Using primarily oil paint, he applied it thinly to the ground, which was usually canvas but also occasionally millboard, wood panel, or metal. He had an eye for meticulous detail and portrayed ships with great accuracy, but also achieved a Romantic sense of drama with the use of low horizon lines, stormy skies, and tempestuous water.

Title: A View Along the Hudson
Medium: oil/panel; SLR, 6" x 8" sight