Xanthus Smith (American, 1839-1929) watercolor and gouache on paper maritime painting, titled "A Ship Bombarding the Shore," depicting a nighttime battle between two United States Naval ships and a seaside fort with men with cannons the shore, rendered in shades of black and white. Possibly depictstheattack on the fortifications at Port Royal harbor in South Carolina by Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont (1803-1865) on November7, 1861. Monogram signature "XS" lower left. Schwarz, Philadelphia gallery label, en verso. Housed and matted under glass in a gilt wood frame with carved five-pointed stars. Sight – 8 7/8" H x 13 3/8" W. Framed – 16 1/2" H x 21" W. Note: This painting was illustrated in Xanthus Smith and the Civil War: The Philadelphia Collection, LXV, pl. 14. Biography: Xanthus Smith was born to artists William Thompson Russell Smith and Mary Priscilla Wilson Smith, who lead him to study art at a young age in his household. From 1851-1852, he accompanied his family in Europe to study old master paintings and became particularly influenced by naturalism in English landscapes. In the outbreak of Civil War, Smith enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he made small drawings during his time on the USS "Wabash". These were recognized by Admiral Du Pont, who promptly commissioned Smith to paint the ships in the fleet. At the end of the war, Smith began exhibiting his paintings of federal vessels, and maintained popularity for both his paintings and sketches in the years following as his accounts provide a unique glimpse of the Civil War through the eyes of an artist. Note: Xanthus Smith was a member of The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and The Royal Academy in London. (source: The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, SC). CONDITION: Overall very good condition with slight waviness to paper. Not examined outside of frame. Few areas of loss, largest 1 1/2"
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