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2024 Winter Fine Art, Antiques & Jewelry (Day 1)

Sat, Jan 27, 2024 09:00AM EST
Lot 540

Xanthus Smith Drawing, Ships at Hampton Roads incl. Admiral DuPont, 1864

Estimate: $600 - $700

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$100 $25
$500 $50
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$3,000 $200
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$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
Xanthus Russell Smith (Pennsylvania, 1839-1929) graphite and colored pencil on paper post-Civil War drawing depicting a central schooner labeled "Schnr." flanked by two more distant vessels: a second, unlabeled schooner at left and a steamship labeled "Stm. Admiral DuPont" at right. With subtle red, yellow, and blue highlight in colored pencil. Initialed and dated "X.S. / September 22d. / 1864," lower left, and inscribed "Hampton Roads / Va.," lower right. Floated under plexiglass in a gilt and gesso frame on black mount and double matted with cream and ivory mats. a period gilt wood and composition frame with foliate corners and nameplate. Sheet: 6 1/4" H x 10 1/3" W. Frame: 14" H x 17 11/16" W. Note: Built in England in 1847, the iron-hulled side-wheel steamship the Admiral DuPont was originally the Anglia, a Confederate blockade runner. After the Anglia was commandeered by the Union Navy on October 27, 1862, the ship was renamed in honor of Admiral Samuel DuPont. On June 8, 1865, during commercial service, the British ship Stadacona collided with the Admiral DuPont. While the Stadacona was run ashore, the ill-fated Admiral DuPoint sunk within ten minutes of the collision. Today, the wreck is a scuba diving site off the coast of New Jersey. Biographical note: Xanthus Russell Smith was born in 1839 into a family of Philadelphia painters, including his parents and sister. He received initial drawing instruction from his parents until he advanced to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The turning point in Smith's career as an artist came with his enlistment in the Navy during the Civil War. While serving on naval ships, Smith studied the vessels and articulated their detail through meticulously drawn compositions. Smith illustrated naval activity on a small scale. He limited most of his compositions to less than fifteen inches on either side, developing his personal penchant for the "small, compact, and neat." After Smith's naval service ended and before his death in 1929, he continued to paint accurate and detailed depictions of sea-going vessels and battles they encountered. Smith discovered his niche in the art world, for his compositions evoked consistent approval from patrons, as well as the favor of critics at exhibitions. (Adapted from askART).


Excellent condition with a few, negligible spots of foxing.

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Private South Carolina Collection.