The Side Paddlewheel “Francis Skiddy”

James Bard (American, 1815–1897)
1859
Currently on view
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions36 3/8 × 64 1/8 inches
CreditAnonymous Gift, 1958
Accession Number58.32.3

This painting’s meticulous detail and lengthy inscription that James Bard placed on the painting celebrates and documents the handsome vessel. The artist specialized in “ship portraits” his entire career, working near the Manhattan piers to be close to potential clients. The Hudson River is the backdrop that Bard frequently chose, and, here, he embellishes the Francis Skiddy with a painting within a painting—a miniature view of the Hudson Highlands on its paddlewheel box.