Side-wheels and Walking Beams

Self-taught, the Bard brothers specialized in the painting of gleaming, accurate little steamboats

In 1827 James Bard, born in New York in the year of Waterloo, made his first steamboat painting, of the Bellona, the first steamer ever owned by Commodore Vanderbilt. The picture itself has since vanished, but young Bard, a mere twelve or thirteen when he selected his highly specialized career, never lost his childlike simplicity or his enthusiasm for the steamboat, until his death, seventy years and (by one probably exaggerated estimate) four thousand steamboat paintings later.

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