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Captain Arthur Small painting, Clipper ship Stag Hound

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Directory: Archives: Fine Art: Pre 1950: Item # 963020

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Captain Arthur Andrew Small (American, 1885-1958) portrait painting of the clipper ship Stag Hound in Singapore. Oil on canvas, dated 1940, signed lower right, original frame, titled on reverse of frame. Size: 21" x 27". Condition: all original; requires a professional cleaning of the yellowed varnish. The Stag Hound was built in Boston, Mass. in 1850 by Donald McKay, and at 215' in length was the largest and fastest ship of her kind, providing competition with the shipbuilding trade in New York City, which had heretofore dominated the clipper ship industry. She completed numerous trips around the Horn to China, delivering her cargo in record time. She caught fire in 1861, ending her 11 year career. Captain Arthur Small, a native of Brockton, Mass., was from a family of lighthouse keepers. He was a keeper on 'Bug' Light on the outskirts of Boston harbor, and then, in 1922, became keeper of Palmer's Island Lighthouse, offshore from New Bedford, Massachusetts. He was also an amateur painter, who specialized in portraits of ships. He was recognized by the U.S. government for his bravery during the Hurricane of 1938 which struck Palmer's Island. On October 1st, the day of the storm, Small and his wife, Mabel, were on the island. Arthur attempted to walk the 350 feet from his house to the lighthouse to man it during the hurricane. High waves, however, covered the island, and he was knocked unconscious. His wife, while trying to launch a rowboat to come to his rescue, was swept away and drowned. Arthur eventually recovered enough to swim to the lighthouse, which he then continued to operate until the following morning, when he in turn was rescued and taken to hospital. His collection of paintings and library were all destroyed in the hurricane, together with his life savings of $7,500, which Mabel had on her possession. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This work was painted in 1940, some two years after the event.