SHIP:  
Closed Now
MUSEUM:  
Closed Now
SHIP:  
Closed Now
MUSEUM:  
Closed Now

Join us on Social

We add new content regularly, so check our handles daily.

Anchor Icon

Facebook

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

We all recognize this painting of George Washington as the most familiar likeness of our first president... but did you know that the artist, Gilbert Stuart, also painted portraits of the legendary @USSConstitution Commanders Isaac Hull and William Bainbridge, which you can see at our Museum? 🎨

Stuart was an American painter born in 1828 who is widely considered one of America's foremost portraitists. His best-known work is an unfinished portrait of George Washington, begun in 1796, which is usually referred to as the Athenaeum Portrait. Over the course of his career, Gilbert Stuart painted at least 100 portraits of George Washington, most of them also copies of the 1796 painting.

The oil portrait of Captain Isaac Hull was completed in Boston in 1807. The portrait exhibits Stuart’s naturalistic characteristics, including ruddy cheeks and a confident gaze.

When William Bainbridge sat for portraitist Gilbert Stuart in 1813, the victory over HMS Java had made the commodore a household name. The temperamental artist and his sitter did not get along. Stuart refused to finish the portrait. Ultimately, though, Bainbridge acquired his portrait, had it altered and finished, and it descended through his family. The face of the oil portrait exhibits some of Stuart’s naturalistic characteristics: Bainbridge’s ruddy cheeks contrast with his pale forehead, denoting a man who has spent years at sea wearing a hat. The fact that the Common Council of New York City commissioned Gilbert Stuart to paint William Bainbridge reflects the honors bestowed on early naval heroes by a grateful nation.

[USS Constitution Museum Collection, 1680.1]
[George Washington, The Athenaeum Portrait, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; owned jointly with Museum of Fine Arts, Boston]
... See MoreSee Less

We all recognize this painting of George Washington as the most familiar likeness of our first president... but did you know that the artist, Gilbert Stuart, also painted portraits of the legendary @USSConstitution Commanders Isaac Hull and William Bainbridge, which you can see at our Museum?  🎨 

Stuart was an American painter born in 1828 who is widely considered one of Americas foremost portraitists. His best-known work is an unfinished portrait of George Washington, begun in 1796, which is usually referred to as the Athenaeum Portrait. Over the course of his career, Gilbert Stuart painted at least 100 portraits of George Washington, most of them also copies of the 1796 painting.

The oil portrait of Captain Isaac Hull was completed in Boston in 1807. The portrait exhibits Stuart’s naturalistic characteristics, including ruddy cheeks and a confident gaze.

When William Bainbridge sat for portraitist Gilbert Stuart in 1813, the victory over HMS Java had made the commodore a household name. The temperamental artist and his sitter did not get along. Stuart refused to finish the portrait. Ultimately, though, Bainbridge acquired his portrait, had it altered and finished, and it descended through his family. The face of the oil portrait exhibits some of Stuart’s naturalistic characteristics: Bainbridge’s ruddy cheeks contrast with his pale forehead, denoting a man who has spent years at sea wearing a hat. The fact that the Common Council of New York City commissioned Gilbert Stuart to paint William Bainbridge reflects the honors bestowed on early naval heroes by a grateful nation. 

[USS Constitution Museum Collection, 1680.1]
[George Washington, The Athenaeum Portrait, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; owned jointly with Museum of Fine Arts, Boston]Image attachmentImage attachment

Much remains unknown about black sailors in the early 19th century because race was not specifically noted in U.S. Navy personnel records. The Museum has collected substantial information for over 200 of the approximately 1,168 sailors assigned to Constitution during the War of 1812. Unfortunately, of those 200 or so sailors, only three - Jesse Williams, James Bennett, and David Debias - are identifiable as black.

James Bennett enlisted for USS Constitution in April 1811 as a free African American. He served on the carpenter's crew, suggesting he acquired woodworking skills before enlisting. During the victorious battles over HMS Guerriere on August 19, 1812 and HMS Java on December 29, 1812, the carpenter's crew labored deep in the ship’s hold to plug holes made by enemy shot. For his effort, Bennett received a portion of the $100,000 in prize money awarded to the crew.

After Constitution returned to Boston Harbor, the navy transferred Bennett to the Great Lakes, where he served under Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. Unfortunately, Bennett suffered a mortal wound on September 10, 1813 during the Battle of Lake Erie. His widow, Sarah Bennett, petitioned Congress for a pension and for any prize money due her husband, but according to the Senate Journal, her petition was rejected.

#blackhistorymonth #SmithsonianBHM #BHM

Excerpts from "Men of Iron, USS Constitution's War of 1812 Crew, " USS Constitution Museum, 2012.
📷 Constitution vs. Java, Nicholas Pocock [artist]; Robert and Daniel Havell [engraver], USS Constitution Museum
... See MoreSee Less

Much remains unknown about black sailors in the early 19th century because race was not specifically noted in U.S. Navy personnel records. The Museum has collected substantial information for over 200 of the approximately 1,168 sailors assigned to Constitution during the War of 1812. Unfortunately, of those 200 or so sailors, only three - Jesse Williams, James Bennett, and David Debias - are identifiable as black.

James Bennett enlisted for USS Constitution in April 1811 as a free African American. He served on the carpenters crew, suggesting he acquired woodworking skills before enlisting. During the victorious battles over HMS Guerriere on August 19, 1812 and HMS Java on December 29, 1812, the carpenters crew labored deep in the ship’s hold to plug holes made by enemy shot. For his effort, Bennett received a portion of the $100,000 in prize money awarded to the crew.

After Constitution returned to Boston Harbor, the navy transferred Bennett to the Great Lakes, where he served under Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. Unfortunately, Bennett suffered a mortal wound on September 10, 1813 during the Battle of Lake Erie. His widow, Sarah Bennett, petitioned Congress for a pension and for any prize money due her husband, but according to the Senate Journal, her petition was rejected.

#blackhistorymonth #SmithsonianBHM #BHM 

Excerpts from Men of Iron, USS Constitutions War of 1812 Crew,  USS Constitution Museum, 2012. 
📷 Constitution vs. Java, Nicholas Pocock [artist]; Robert and Daniel Havell [engraver], USS Constitution Museum

Check out some of the great ship builds from the LEGO®️ Maritime Festival! Want to take part in the fun? You can create your own submissions from home. For details and to check out the builds so far, visit bit.ly/3UGZKsV

#SchoolVacation
#wintervacation
#funthingstodo
#boston
... See MoreSee Less

Check out some of the great ship builds from the LEGO®️ Maritime Festival! Want to take part in the fun? You can create your own submissions from home. For details and to check out the builds so far, visit https://bit.ly/3UGZKsV

#schoolvacation
#wintervacation
#funthingstodo
#bostonImage attachmentImage attachment+1Image attachment
Load more