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A Ship Comes Home

 

ABOVE This portrait of the ship Hazard, c.1805, is one of at least five pictures of the vessel painted by the Neapolitan artist Michele Felice Cornè.

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Please click here for more information on Michele Felice Cornè and to view another painting by him.

On July 7, 1800, the ship Mount Vernon, owned by Salem, Massachusetts, merchant Elias Haskett Derby, returned to its home port. One of its passengers, who had boarded in Naples, was the artist Michele Felice Cornè (1752–1832). Cornè was a versatile painter who created marine views, portraits, and landscapes in a variety of media—oil, watercolor, and gouache. While in Salem, he painted a number of ship portraits including the Hazard. The Hazard was built in 1799 by Salem shipwright Retire Becket for John and Richard Gardner. Primarily engaged in the East India trade, she served as a privateer with ten guns during the hostilities with France that had begun in 1798. Ultimately, the hundred-and-one-foot vessel was condemned at Jamaica. Cornè was one of the little-known New England artists who fascinated Nina Fletcher Little. She conducted extensive research on the painter and wrote the catalogue for the 1972 exhibition of his works at the Peabody Museum of Salem.

The Ship Hazard was one of the many images of the New England landscape and seascape that the Littles hung in Cogswell’s Grant, their summer home in Essex, Massachusetts. It has now returned to the house through the generosity of their daughter, who recently donated the painting to Historic New England.

-Richard C. Nylander
Senior Curator

A Ship Comes Home