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James Bard


The Steamship Syracuse

The Steamboat „Daniel S. Miller“

Steam Paddle Wheeler Mattano

Albertina, Hudson River steamer

Alida, Hudson River steamer

Almendares, steamboat

Amanda Winants, Hudson River steamer

America, schooner yacht

America, sidewheel steamboat, built 1853

Andrew Fletcher, Hudson River towboat

Annie J. Lyman

Armenia, steamboat built 1847

Steamboat Arrowsmith

Austin, Steamboat

Black Warrior, 1852

Blackbird steamboat built 1864

Broadway, Steamer

Cayuga, steamboat

Chrystenah, steamboat

City of Brockton, steamboat

Columbia, Hudson River steamboat

Columbus, Hudson River steamer

Commerce steamboat

Commodore, steamboat. 1848

Commonwealth, Long Island Sound steamboat

Confidence, Hudson River steamboat

C. Vanderbilt

Creole, steamboat

Crystal Stream, Hudson River steamboat built 1873

Daniel Drew, Hudson River steamboat built 1861

The Steamboat „Daniel S. Miller“

De Witt Clinton, Hudson River steamer built 1828

Enoch Dean, Hudson River steamboat built 1852

Fanny, Hudson River steamboat built 1825

Fanny, steam tug built 1863

Florence, steamboat

Glen Cove, Hudson River steamboat built 1855

Grey Hound, Hudson River steamer built 1863

Harlem, Hudson River steamboat built 1871

Henry Smith, New York steamboat, also known by other names, including John L. Lockwood and Victor.

Horse Jack of Woodbridge, New Jersey

Illinois, Hudson River steamboat, built 1837

Indiana, Hudson River steam towboat, built 1840, converted to a barge 1857

Isaac Smith, Hudson River steamboat built 1861

Jacob H. Tremper, Hudson River steamboat, built 1885

James A. Stevens, steamboat

James A. Stevens, Hudson River steamboat 1857

Hudson river steamboat Jenny Lind

Jesse Hoyt, steamboat built 1862

John Birkbeck, steam towboat

John L. Hasbrouck, Hudson River steamboat

John L. Hasbrouck, Hudson River steamboat

Kaaterskill, Hudson River steamboat

Keyport, New York harbor steamboat that once ran from Keyport, New Jersey to Staten Island.

Leviathan, steam towboat, built 1855

Lexington, Long Island Sound steamboat, built 1837, burned January 13, 1840

Martha Washington, New York Harbor excursion steamer

Mary Powell, steamboat

Menemon Sanford, Hudson River steamboat

Metamora, steamboat

Steamboat Metamora, built ca 1855

Milton Martin, Hudson River steamboat, built 1863

Minnahanonck, steamboat built at New York in 1868, still registered as of 1920.

Minnie Connell, steamboat

Nelly Baker, steamboat

New York, steamboat 1836

New York ,steamboat 1887

Niagara, steamboat

North Star, steam yacht, 1852

Over, New York harbor steam ferry

Palmer Crary, steam towboat

Palmer Crary, steam towboat

Perry, steamboat

Ranger, steamship 1865

Reindeer, steamboat 1850

Reindeer, steamboat 1850

Rip Van Winkle, steamboat

Rip Van Winkle, steamboat

Robert L. Stevens, steamboat

San Rafael , steamboat

Sarah A. Stevens

Saratoga, steamboat

Saucelito, San Francisco Bay steamboat

Seawanhaka, steamboat

Shady Side, steamboat

Southhampton, steam ferry 1869

St. Lawrence, steamboat

Steamboat William Tittamer

Swallow, steamboat 1836

Sylvan Dell

Sylvan Glen

Sylvan Grove

Sylvan Shore

Syracuse, steamboat

Telegraph, steamboat 1837

Thomas Collyer, steamboat 1864

Thomas Hunt and America, 1852

Thomas M. McManus

Thomas P. Way, steamboat

Thomas Powell, steamboat

Trojan, steamboat 1845

Troy, steamboat

United States, steamboat 1852

Utica, steamboat 1836

Wiehawken, steam ferry, 1868

William Harrison, steamboat

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James Bard

James Bard was a marine artist of the 19th century. He is known for his paintings of watercraft, particularly of steamboats. His works are sometimes characterized as naïve art. Although Bard died poor and almost forgotten, his works have since become valuable. Bard had a twin brother, John (1815–1856) and they collaborated on earlier works.


James Bard and John Bard were born in 1815 in New York City. Their father was Joseph Bard, who had been born in England. Their mother was Nellie Purvis Bard, who had been born in Scotland. They had at least two brothers (Joseph and George), two older sisters (Ellen and Mary) and one younger sister, Margaret.[1] Sometime before 1843, Bard married Harriet DeGroot, who was six years older than he was. They had six children, but between 1843 and 1856 five of them died. Only their daughter Ellen survived.[2]

Harriet's brother, Albert DeGroot, later became a steamboat captain and a wealthy man, who commissioned a number of works by James Bard.[3]
Joint works with John Bard
Illinois, by James and John Bard, 1837.

The first known picture by the Bard brothers is of the steamboat Belona, done in 1827 when they were 12 years old.[4] James continued to work with John through the 1830s and into the 1840s. It is not possible to tell which portions of the work were done by each brother. Their joint works are signed "J & J Bard" or "J & J Bard, Picture Painters."[2] No work survives signed by John alone, but there are several signed "Jas. Bard."[2] They began dating their work by 1836. When their father died in 1838, they were listed in the New York directory for the first time as "painters."[4]

Their works in the 1830s were watercolor. They began improving their technique and moving into oil painting as a medium by the 1840s. There is only one instance recorded of a showing of the brother's joint work, this was in 1842 at a large display of work by other nautical artists held by the American Institute of City of New York at Niblo's Garden.[2]

The last known joint paintings by the brothers were dated 1849. These were of the steamboats Wilson G. Hunt and Senator, both of which left the New York area in March 1850 to travel around South America to the California Gold Rush.[2] After these paintings, there is no further indication of John Bard's participation. It has been suggested that he went to the gold rush, but there is no evidence as to John's whereabouts or activities during this time.[2] John is known to have been admitted to the Blackwell Island alms' house, apparently in poor health. He died on October 18, 1856, and was buried in an unmarked grave in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.[5]
Later works
James A. Stevens, oil on canvas, 1857. Mariners' Museum

The break into works done alone by James Bard is marked by the oil paintings of the steamboats Ocean and Boston in March 1850, which are signed by James alone.[5] The 1850s were a boom-time for ship construction in New York, and Bard received many commissions from owners of newly built vessels. Bard appears to have earned a modest living from his work, as he was listed as "artist" in various city directories, but his financial success was somewhat limited, as there is no record that Bard ever opened a bank account or owned real estate.[6] There is some indication he may have worked as a railroad mechanic or engineer in the 1860s.[6] In the 1880s Bard's commissions declined, although as late as 1890 he was still able to produce two commercial watercolors.

Bard may have gone to California in the late 1870s, as he painted two vessels that were assembled there from prefabricated parts manufactured in Brooklyn. There is no record of Bard having traveled to California but it has been pointed out that it would have been unlikely for him to have painted vessels he had never seen in operation.[7]

By 1892, however, with age his ability to draw had deteriorated, and he apparently was no longer able to earn a living. In the 1890s, Bard and his wife moved to White Plains, New York, apparently to live with his daughter, Ellen, who apparently had the sole, if limited ability to support them. In late 1896, Bard's wife Harriet fell ill with pneumonia and she died on January 5, 1897. James Bard himself died on March 26, 1897. Their daughter Ellen lived until 1919. She worked as a maid. Her father's friend, Samuel Ward Stanton, helped her stay off public assistance by sending her money every month. Other than their works, James and John Bard left no papers, journals, wills, or other documents.[6] Bard was almost forgotten by the time of his death in 1897, although he was the subject of a single obituary, probably written by his friend, the important marine artist and historian Samuel Ward Stanton.
Cornelius Vanderbilt, by James and John Bard, 1847.

During his life, Bard painted or made drawings of at least 3,000 vessels, including probably every steamer built at New York during his active life as an artist.[8] Bard's works included common features intended to please patrons. Sailboats were shown underway with all sails up. Steamboats likewise were shown underway, with numerous flags flying, including a large one bearing the vessel's name. There would often be inscriptions about the ship and its owner. In one example, James and John Bard painted for their patron Cornelius Vanderbilt, then one of the wealthiest men in the United States, a portrait of the Hudson River steamboat Cornelius Vanderbilt racing the Oregon. Although Oregon won the race, the Vanderbilt is shown in the lead, and all that is visible of the Oregon is the prow and the flag on the jackstaff.

Bard went to great lengths to get the details of the vessel correctly, including personally measuring the vessel in question. Preliminary drawings exist for some vessels. It was customary at that time for marine artists to paint multiple works of a single vessel, which could be different as to the background and other details, depending on orders from patrons. Bard followed this practice, often painting the same vessel multiple times.
Later recognition

As Bard grew older, photography became increasingly used for marine as well as other subject areas, and steamboats themselves declined in importance in relation to the railroads. During Bard's life, Stanton, was the only artist who acknowledged Bard's influence, stating in his 1895 book American Steam Vessels that Bard was a gentleman who had begun the work of steamboat portraiture before 1830, and "to him the maritime world owes gratitude for his contributions to it of correct likenesses of many of the noted steamboats of early days".[9]

Most of the Bard works were done for persons in the steamboat or maritime trades, and as these persons died or went out of business, the works were lost or destroyed. In the earlier part of the 20th century, historians began relying on the surviving Bard works as references. Three of these historians, Francis F.C. Bradlee, George W. Murdock, and Edwin M. Eldredge collected steamboat art and other materials, and they came to acquire many of the Bard works. In time, all three of these collections came into the hands of museums, in particular the Eldredge collection, the most extensive one, went to the Mariners' Museum in Newport News in 1940.

In 1924, for the first time since 1842, two of Bard's works were featured at an art exhibition.[10] After the 1897 obituary, nothing was written about the Bards as artists until 1949, when Alexander Crosby Brown and Harold Sniffen wrote an article published in Art in America which focused on the output of the Bard brothers, the accuracy of their drawings, and their importance for marine historians.[10]


Mariners' Museum and Peluso, The Bard Brothers, notes, at pages 162-163
Mariners Museum and Peluso, The Bard Brothers, at 19.
Mariners' Museum, The Bard Brothers, at pages 59-68.
Mariners' Museum and Peluso, The Bard Brothers, at 16.
Mariners' Museum and Peluso, The Bard Brothers, at 25.
Mariners Museum and Peluso, The Bard Brothers, at pages 27-29.
Mariners' Museum and Peluso, The Bard Brothers, at 40 and 42.
Mariners' Museum and Peluso, The Bard Brothers, at pages 105-106.
Stanton, American Steam Vessels, preface.
Mariners' Museum and Peluso, The Bard Brothers, at pages 141-143.
Mariners' Museum and Peluso, The Bard Brothers, at page 8.
Antiques and the Arts on-line.
Christie's, lot 412, sale 1189

Christie's, lot 3, sale 2030

Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Bard.

Mariner's Museum and Peluso, Anthony J., Jr., The Bard Brothers—Painting America under Steam and Sail, Abrams, New York 1997 ISBN 0-8109-1240-6
James Bard at American Art Gallery
Stanton, Samuel Ward, American Steam Vessels, Stanton, NY 1895, republished as American Steam Vessels—The Classic Illustrations, New York, Dover 2003, ISBN 0-486-42330-1

Further reading

Lipman, Jean. "James and John Bard: Ship Painters of the Hudson River". The Clarion, Summer 1977.

Artist, USA


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