Enoch Wood and Sons offered a series of dark blue transfer views notable for its dramatic...
Enoch Wood and Sons offered a series of dark blue transfer views notable for its dramatic shell border (termed "irregular shell border"). The borders create the illusion that the central scene is viewed from within a rocky grotto. On this luncheon size plate, the cave opens onto a foreground spit of land where two small figures, one with spyglass, look out over Lake Champlain. Before them -- and us -- unfolds a momentous naval battle, the victorious struggle of Commodore Thomas MacDonough over British forces during the War of 1812.
Wood depicts the battle with a surprising degree of detail, capturing billows of cannon smoke and the tatters of the damaged sails. Ships are (right to left) English brig "Linnet", English frigate "Confiance," MacDonough's flagship (prominent front left), the American ships "Saratoga" and "Eagle" Across the back of the scene, a rolling mountain range marks the horizon, clouds and sky above. A small inscription along the lower right side of the view identifies "Commodore MacDonnough's Victory."
The wide rocky border is punctuated by five clusters of large shells nestled among fronds of seaweed. a narrow band of more formal ornament finishes the edge.
|Mark:||Impressed backstamp Wood|
|Dimensions:||Diameter 9 1/4 in.|
According to Elouise Baker Larsen, American Historical Views On Staffordshire China (1939;...
According to Elouise Baker Larsen, American Historical Views On Staffordshire China (1939; Dover Reprint 1975, p. 10),the view was taken from a painting by H. Reinagle. It was engraved by Rogers and Esler and published July 4, 1817 in Philadelphia by B. Tanner. The engraving is titled "MacDonough's Victory on Lake Champlain and Defeat of the British Army at Plattsburg by Gen'l Macomb, Sept. 11, 1814."
While not especially well known today, actions by naval commanders like MacDonough and Oliver Hazard Perry were crucial in protecting U.S. territories along the vulnerable northern lakes and waterways. Clearly the Commodore's heroics were celebrated enough in their day to make the battle an attractive subject to the Woods in their efforts to compete for American customers.