Knoxville (865) 558-3033 • Nashville (615) 812-6096 •

Case Auctions
Live Auction

2023 Summer Fine Art & Antiques (Day 1)

Sat, Jul 8, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 565

USS Kearsarge Wood Relic Frame and Marine Painting

Estimate: $800 - $900
Sold for

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

Two (2) USS Kearsarge items originally owned by its commander, Rear Admiral John Ancrum Winslow. 1st item: CDV-sized picture frame made of 4 intersecting wooden sticks, along with a piece of wood inscribed, "This frame made of the stern post of the Kearsarge where shell from the Alabama lodged". Accompanied by a handwritten note with similar inscription. (The original photograph housed in this frame is not present). Frame overall: 7" x 5". Opening - 3 1/2" x 2 1/2". Note: In his report to U.S. Navy Secretary Gideon Welles the day after the USS Kearsarge sank the CSS raider Alabama, then-Captain Winslow reported that his ship was in relatively unscathed condition. "Although we received some twenty-five or thirty shots, twelve or thirteen taking effect in the hull, by the mercy of God we have been spared... the only shot which I fear will give us any trouble is one 100-pound rifle, which entered our stern post and remains at present unexploded." (Had that shell fired by the Alabama exploded, the consequences could have been catastrophic for the Kearsarge). Worldwide admiration for the famous ship in the wake of its victory spread all the way to the White House. On Jan. 28, 1865, Commandant S.H. Stringham notified Gideon Welles, Secretary of the U.S. Navy on behalf of Abraham Lincoln, "Sir: Understanding from Captain Winslow that the President desired the shell from the sternpost of the Kearsarge, I have had the sternpost sawed off and the piece containing the shell has been boxed up and sent by the Supply to Norfolk, with a request to the commandant of the station that he would forward the box to you at the earliest opportunity." While it is unknown what Lincoln ultimately did with the shell, this small surviving wood frame and its note suggest that Winslow, also, kept a souvenir from the ship itself as a reminder of its good luck during battle. 2nd item: Ink wash/watercolor detailed painting depicting the USS Kearsarge, with figures on board, in a harbor with a city (likely Boston) in the background. The unsigned maritime painting appears to be executed on paper which has then been adhered over a photograph or print of a photograph by important Boston photographer John A. Whipple, 1864 (the year the Kearsarge achieved international fame by sinking the CSS Alabama in battle). Framed under glass. Painting: 14 1/2" x 10". Print: 12" x 15". Frame - 20" x 24". Note: The victory of the USS Kearsarge over the Alabama captured the imagination of numerous artists, starting with French artists present among the crowds watching the action from the shores of France, and continuing through the ship's American homecoming. Impressionist painter Edouard Manet famously painted the Kearsarge (Ref. "Manet and the Civil War: the Battle of USS Kearsarge and CSS Alabama," Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003), as did Xanthus Smith and Theodore Antoine Gudin ("There is a great rush to see the Kearsarge. M. Gudin, the famous marine painter, has gone to take designs for a picture of the combat." - The Louisville Courier Journal, July 14, 1864). This small painting is likely pasted over the photograph or print that inspired it, now in the collection of the Library of Congress (Ref. "USS Kearsarge vs. CSS Alabama: Personal Accounts and Official Reports, Anthology by Maxim Ferapontov, p. 59). Note: "The Mohican-class steam sloop-of-war, USS Kearsarge, was commissioned on January 24, 1862, at Portsmouth Navy Yard. Deployed to European waters during the Civil War, she searched for Confederate raiders. On June 19, 1864, in the Battle of Cherbourg, Kearsarge, commanded by Captain John A. Winslow, sank CSS Alabama, commanded by Raphael Semmes, ending the career of the South's most famous commerce raider. The engagement lasted an hour and ten minutes. Seventeen of Kearsarge's crew received the Medal of Honor for their actions. Decommissioned after the war, Kearsarge was in and out of commissioned for nearly the next thirty years serving in the Pacific, the Atlantic, Central American waters, and in the Caribbean. On February 2, 1894, while en-route from Haiti to Nicaragua, she wrecked on Roncador Reef. Efforts to salvage her proved fruitless, and Kearsarge was stricken from the Navy List later that year. A model of Kearsarge is in the Civil War section of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy." (Source: National Museum of the U.S. Navy). For more information on Winslow and the victory of the USS Kearsarge, including other objects related to the ship including flags and the ship's abstract log, see lots #561-567 in this auction. This lot will include a copy of a notarized provenance letter from the direct descendant of Admiral Winslow.


1st item: Heavy toning and foxing. Not examined out of frame. Late 20th century frame. 2nd item: Frame is disassembled, with some of the original tiny pins that held it together now missing; full separation to the piece of wood describing the history of the frame. 3rd item: Overall very good with light toning, scattered minor foxing and creasing. Ends of tube case are missing, case has moderate wear.

Available payment options

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Amex
  • Diners
  • Discover
  • JCB
  • Union Pay

Payment must be received no later than five (5) days after the sale.

If paying with a credit card, a 3% credit card processing fee will be applied to the final sales price (i.e. hammer price + buyer's premium + applicable taxes). If you have a credit card on file with Case, any winning bids will be automatically charged (up to $3000) along with applicable fees 72 hours after you receive your invoice unless other arrangements have been made.

If paying with wire transfer, please use the following information:
Bank: Pinnacle Bank
150 Third Avenue South, Suite 900
Nashville, TN 37201
Phone # (865) 766-3000
Swift Code: PNFPUS44
Routing, Transit, ABA: 064008637
Beneficiary: Case Antiques, Inc.
4310 Papermill Drive
Knoxville, TN 37909
Account #: NOT DISCLOSED (please refer to your invoice email for the Deposit Account Number or contact us )

Private TN collection, acquired March, 2023 from direct descendant of USS Kearsarge commander Admiral John Ancrum Winslow (1811-1873) through his only surviving grandson Brig. Genl. Eben Eveleth Winslow, along with other items in this auction.