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A painter of heroic ships

James Edward Buttersworth was the son of a British Navy seaman who also painted. Thomas Buttersworth specialized in battle scenes in which British ships are defeating American ones during the War of 1812.

James, however, moved to the United States about 1845, probably seeking work to support his family. He settled in Hoboken, N.J., where he painted harbor scenes, yacht races, and ship portraits for owners or captains. Currier & Ives used many of his paintings for their lithographs.

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Buttersworth's pictures often feature storms or ships in distress. But there is always a positive, even heroic quality present: a lifesaving crew, or people being rescued. Here, a British ship fleeing a storm still looks majestic and under control.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society