The Constitution and the Guerriere

Thomas Chambers American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 751

Born in England, Chambers worked in the United States as a prolific marine, landscape, and “fancy” painter between 1832 and about 1866. In the 1930s and 1940s, with the discovery of the Museum’s signed painting, Chambers emerged as a folk original, embraced posthumously by modern art enthusiasts as the “American Rousseau.” Here, Chambers focused his attention on a well-known marine battle in the War of 1812 featuring the U.S.S. Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides. Basing his composition on an engraving by Cornelius Tiebout after a painting by Thomas Birch, he took certain liberties with his source, advancing the action and showing the British ship, H.M.S. Guerrière, with all its masts broken.

The Constitution and the Guerriere, Thomas Chambers (1808–after 1866), Oil on canvas, American

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