"Sperm Whaling, No. 1---The Chase" Color Lithograph

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 Sperm Whaling, No. 1---The Chase  Color Lithograph
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c. 1859. "Sperm Whaling, No. 1---The Chase" Fabulous early hand-colored lithograph of whaling scene. Lithograph from drawing by A. Van Beest and R.S. Gifford, corrected by Benj. Russell, Esq. Lithograph by Endicott & Co. of New York. Published by Charles Taber & Co. in New Bedford. The scene: two whale boats, each with four oarsman, a steersman, and a spearman, chase a whale in the foreground. In the background, you can see at least six other whales, with smaller ships leaving larger ships in pursuit. Condition: The bottom edge that carried the original title has been removed, as well as the rest of the border around the image. It does not appear that any of the image itself has been cut off. Small creases along the edges. Professionally repaired tears. Lithograph has been mounted. Dimensions: 27 1/2" x 18."

There was a second whaling scene commissioned. "The Capture," also worked on by Van Beest and Gifford, was not published until 1862. Albert Van Beest (1820-1860), a marine artist, was born in Rotterdam (Netherlands) and brought to New Bedford by William Bradford in 1854. Robert Swain Gifford (1840-1905) was from New Haven and was noticed and befriended by Van Beest when he was drawing along the waterfront. He particularly liked to draw watercraft. Since neither of them knew anything about whaling, whaling artist Benjamin Russell (1804-1805) was brought in to make any necessary corrections (such as the shape of the whale or the gear the men were using).

Charles Taber & Co. started as a bookstore and entered the print business in the mid-1850s. The whaling scenes were commissioned in 1859. The firm suffered a fire in 1862.

Announcements of the print:
*From the Daily Evening Standard, July 8, 1859: "C. Taber & Co. have just published the first of a beautiful series of engravings illustrative of the whale fishery. It is entitled "The Chase" and represents a boat in pursuit of one of the monsters of the deep and the boatsteerers just about to plunge the harpoon into his body. Several ships and boats are in pursuit of others of the school, and a mountainous island reses in the background. The drawing is by Messrs. Van Beest and R. S. Gifford, well known and competent artists, aided by the experience of Benj. Russell Esq., and the picture is executed in the best style of chromo-lithography. It will doubtless meet with a ready sale."

*From the Mercury, July 9: "The eagerness of the whalemen in close pursuit of the oleagic monster is admirably portrayed, while the flitting of the seabirds athwart the briny waves and the whaleships in the distance give a vivid effect to the picture."

*And the official announcement in the Mercury by Taber on July 10: "GIVE IT TO HER" Sperm Whaling No. 1. The Chase - Great pains have been taken to have this picture a correct representation of whaling. The previous representations of this subject (except a few now out of the market) are caricatures rather than true pictures. We believe this to be in the main, an accurate representation. It is well got up on the best style of the art, and finely colored. Price to subscribers $5 for the pair, single copies $3." [ref: http://www.whalingmuseum.org/explore/library/publications/old-dartmouth-historical-sketches/odhs_no_80] Burger CollectionCity: County: State: Date: