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    Sale 2095

    The Collection Of Marguerite And Arthur Riordan, Stonington, Connecticut

    18 January 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 560

    A CARVED AND PAINTED STEAMBOAT WEATHERVANE

    MADE BY WILLIAM C. MANCHESTER, BRISTOL, RHODE ISLAND, DATED OCTOBER 1858

    Price Realised  

    A CARVED AND PAINTED STEAMBOAT WEATHERVANE
    Made by William C. Manchester, Bristol, Rhode Island, Dated October 1858
    underside inscribed Wm C Manchester Oct 1858 Bristol RI smokestacks, and flags are later replacements
    31½ in. high (including stand), 70 in. long


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    Crafted by William C. Manchester in 1858, this side-wheeler steamboat weathervane stands as an important symbol of America's burgeoning industrial ingenuity. Embracing the essential components of a steam powered ferryboat, this weathervane is enhanced by a bold application of red, white, and blue paint, intricate details of ornamentation, and a bearded captain steering the boat. Proudly waving both American and Rhode Island flags, this steamboat articulates the maker's faith in both his nation and his state. A carpenter from Bristol, Rhode Island, William C. Manchester was in his late fifties when he created this ship. His omission from the 1860 US Federal Census yet his family's inclusion suggests that this weathervane may have been one of Manchester's final creations and remains a lasting tribute to his name.

    The steamboat's ability to quickly transport both people and goods throughout America's river networks revolutionized the American way of life and allowed for previously unperceived freedom of movement as well as incredible economic prosperity. Celebrated since Robert Fulton first launched the famous Clermont in 1807, steamboats captured the imagination of the American public and remained a primary means of transportation before the outbreak of the Civil War.

    Provenance

    Collection of Tom Benson, Newport, Rhode Island
    Sold C.G. Sloan & Company, Inc., Washington DC, March 24-27, 1977


    Literature

    C.G. Sloan & Company, advertisement, The Magazine Antiques (February, 1977), p. 277.


    Exhibited

    Providence, Rhode Island, Rhode Island School of Design, A Well Furnished World: Rhode Island in the Age of Thomas Tefft, 1830-1860, February-April, 1988.