The steam screw tugboat Ivanhoe, named after the title character in Sir Walter Scott's novel, was typical in design and arrangement of a coastal towboat for this era. Built in Brooklyn, in 1881 for George W. Pride and Co. of Philadelphia, she had principal dimensions of 88 feet LOA x 20.5 feet beam, and a draft of 9.9 feet, Ivanhoe worked primarily between New York and Philadelphia as a towboat. On October 28th 1898 Ivanhoe and the towboat E.V. McCaulley were towing a floating dock from New York to Philadelphia when a gale blew up and the dock was lost. After the ensuing litigation, where the tugs were cleared, her name was changed to W.A. Sherman, probably around 1904.
In addition to this painting, the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Virginia has a sketch of the Ivanhoe dated 1886 (Harold S. Sniffen, Antonio Jacobsen: The Checklist (New York, 1994), p.156. Also in the collection is an oil painting of the W.A. Sherman signed, dated and inscribed Ant. Jac., 1904, W. Hob (Sniffen, p. 298).