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The Perils of Whaling

Major collection: Hart Nautical
Named collection: Allan Forbes Collection
Object type: watercolor; drawing
Maker: Olmsted, Francis Allyn; unknown
Place made: unknown
Date made: 1900-1999
Materials: watercolor; pencil; paper
Measurements: 16 1/4 in x 22 1/2 in
Nomenclature: whaling scenes
Classification: whales

A colored drawing copy of the frontispiece of Francis Allyn Olmsted's published journal, Incidents of a Whaling Voyage (New York: D. Appleton, 1841). Olmsted recorded his experiences as a passenger on the whaler North American during a voyage from New London, Connecticut to Honolulu. His journals in two volumes described his stay in Honolulu and his return voyage with several missionaries to New York on the cargo vessel Flora. The journal, revised and supplemented with new illustrations, was published as Incidents of a Whaling Voyage. Although at the bottom margin of this drawing, it is inscribed, "Drawn by F. A. Olmsted, 1841," it is more likely that this drawing is a 20th-century imitation. In this scene, a whale flips over the boat whose crew harpooned it. The crewmembers fly off and topple over off the boat. Two other whaleboats surround the whale; the boat in the foreground has a man posed to harpoon the flailing whale. After harpooning the whale, the whaleboats pulled the whale carcass back to the main whale ship.


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Olmsted, Francis Allyn; unknown