Prominent Maine Marine Painters
William Pierce Stubbs (1842-1909) of Bucksport, James Gardiner Babbidge (1849-1919) of Rockland, and Percy A. Sanborn (1849-1929) of Belfast were all marine artists native to Penobscot Bay towns. All were most active in their careers in the 1870s and 1880s, around the time photography began to compete with painting. These artists tended to paint using patterned and consistent composition. Usually, their vessels are painted broadside and sail from right to left across the painting. Waves and water appear regimented, flowing either parallel to the hull or diagonal to it.
The three-masted schoonerSchooner
A sailing vessel of two or more masts, all fore-and-aft rigged. The Thomas W. Lawson, built in 1902, had seven masts. In comparison to a square-rigged vessel of comparable tonnage, a schooner is better for coastwise sailing. Alfred Brabrook was built in 1873 in Bath, Maine, at Goss and Sawyer.
The Augusta E. Herrick was built in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1877 for William P. Herrick, a successful Swans Island mackerelMackerel
Atlantic mackerel is the species found in the North Atlantic. A schooling, bony, oily, strongly-flavored food fish, green above with dark blue bars and silvery color below. The commercial stock has rebounded since near collapse in the 1970s. Without ice they spoil quickly. They are caught in purse seines which produce relatively little bycatch and no bottom damage. Today most of Maine's mackerel fishery is recreational. fisherman. The Herrick was the only centerboard schoonerCenterboard schooner
A centerboard is a movable fin or sliding keel made of wood or metal, pivoting in a slot in the bottom of a vessel and contained within a watertight trunk or case.
Read More ever to be employed in the North Atlantic fisheries. In addition to fishing for mackerel, the Herrick carried fruit between New York and the West Indies in the winter. She was wrecked off Honduras in 1900.
Sanborn, like many European port painters, lettered the name of the vessel, her master, the date and place of building, and sometimes information about record passages at the bottom of his canvases. He also was known for painting scenery, animals, and decorations on bean pots and other items such as the Belfast Bank sign pictured here.
The William H. Conner was the largest and the last full-rigged shipShip
A vessel with three masts, all square-rigged. built in Searsport. She was built in 1877 and cost over $100,000.
Waldo Peirce (1884-1970) summered in Searsport for many years. He gave a number of his paintings to the Searsport schools his children attended. Some had a maritime theme.
George Wasson (1855-1932) was an artist and author who painted scenes and vessels of Penobscot Bay. He is also known for his book Sailing Days on the Penobscot, which has an introduction by Searsport's Lincoln Colcord (See Life at Sea Resource List.)