In 1869 Bradford embarked on his seventh and final Arctic expedition aboard the Panther, a sealing ship, in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Accompanied by a crew of thirty, including two photographers, this art journey proved to be his most ambitious thus far, as the Panther traveled through one hundred miles of pack ice into Melville Bay, Greenland. He established a studio on Panther’s deck, and while the photographers documented the voyage, Bradford spent his time sketching the panoramic views of what he described as “the terrible aspects of the Frigid Zone.” Bradford often used the photographs to supplement his own sketches as inspiration for large studio compositions.
More information about this painting...
Brigantine off Labrador is one of many detailed oils which resulted from these expeditions, this one featuring a brigantine or hermaphrodite brig: a two-masted ship with a square-rigged foremast and both fore and aft sails rigged on the main mast. The vessel was likely a whaling ship, as identified by the double-ended whale boat hanging at its side as well as the inclusion of the after cabin. While the ship itself is not easily identifiable, red swallow-tail pennants were symbols of several New Bedford and Fairhaven, Massachusetts vessels of this period, although Bradford seems to have taken some artistic license in depicting the flag’s white circle.
Private collection, New England
Adelson Galleries, New York, New York, ca. 1996
Vallejo Gallery, Newport Beach, California
To private collection, Osterville, Massachusetts, ca. 1999
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 35313, November 2008
Returned to private collection, Osterville, Massachusetts, January 2010 to present
1). Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. 35313
2). Vallejo Gallery / Fine Marine Art / Newport Beach, California U.S.A
Nautical Collector, May 1994, illustrated page 19