American School, Late 18th Century
Portrait of a Ship Captain, with Distant Ship Flying an American Flag. The subject is a ship captain, reportedly with the last name of Derby, and is therefore likely the Revolutionary War patriot Captain John Derby (1741-1812), of Salem, Massachusetts.
Unsigned. Oil on canvas, 48 x 38 in., in a period molded, wood frame with carved gilt liner. Condition: Relined, scattered retouch to figure and background, craquelure, scattered paint loss.
Provenance: By family descent from the original owner.
Note: Captain John Derby was born in 1741 to a wealthy merchant family in Salem, Massachusetts. He gained fame during the American Revolution for delivering news to England of the Battle of Lexington and the beginnings of war across the Atlantic. He was part owner of a privateer vessel, raiding the English shipping fleets. On April 4, 1783, he brought news back to Salem announcing the signing of the Treaty of Paris, and the cessation of the hostilities between Britain and the United States.
Retouch to areas on face: under nose, areas on cheeks and jawline, areas above his right hand, and to a background area to the right of his right-facing lower jacket., and other small spots of retouch sparcely scattered on canvas to figure and background. About 20-30 small specks of paint loss on background and clothing mostly on the left side of the painting.
The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.