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The Wreck of the Iron Crown

Winslow Homer American

Not on view

On October 20, 1881, news spread throughout the community of Cullercoats, England, that a storm had caused the sailing ship Iron Crown to run aground at nearby Tynemouth harbor. Homer hurried to the scene, where he recorded the rescue effort in this watercolor. The town’s lifesaving brigade had rowed out earlier to save twenty stranded crew members; the artist arrived just as the same rescuers risked their lives again to retrieve a sailor who had been left behind. With his illustrator’s eye for detail, Homer pictures the lone figure’s tiny form waving for help, while the lifeboat cleaves through heavy surf. Though he had alluded to the perils of the sea in earlier illustrations and watercolors, this is one of Homer’s first paintings to depict an actual rescue.

The Wreck of the Iron Crown, Winslow Homer (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1836–1910 Prouts Neck, Maine), Watercolor, graphite, and charcoal on paper, American

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