A contemporary painting of the sidewheel steamboat 'Commonwealth' 1854 after an original painting by the American marine artist James Bard, c. 1860. Oil on canvas measuring 23 3/4" X 35 1/2 inches. Painting is not signed and the artist is unknown. Comes with a custom wood frame (see pictured below).
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Commonwealth was a large sidewheel steamboat built in 1854–55 for passenger service on Long Island Sound. The most celebrated Sound steamer of her day, Commonwealth was especially noted for the elegance and comfort of her passenger accommodations, which included gas lighting, steam heating, and an "enchantingly beautiful" domed roof in her upper saloon. Her stability of motion led her captain to describe Commonwealth as the finest rough weather steamboat ever built in the United States.
Commonwealth would spend her entire career on Long Island Sound routes, first from New York to Allyn's Point, Connecticut under the management of the Norwich and New London Steamboat Company, and later to Stonington and Groton with the New Jersey Steam Navigation and the Merchants' Steamship companies. During the American Civil War, she was part of the transport network that moved northern state Union regiments to the battlefront. Commonwealth's end came prematurely when she was destroyed by a dockyard fire at Groton in December 1865.