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Object Name Painting
Artist Matthew, Alex
Date ca. 1853
Title Oystering at Prince's Bay
Description Oil on canvas, Oystering at Prince's Bay, by Alex Matthew. The painting is based on a popular wood engraving published in several American illustrated periodicals during the 1850s. It depicts local watermen, working on a Staten Island skiff, tonging for oysters in Prince's Bay; crude poles mark the boundaries of individual oyster plots; the Red Bank Light can be seen on the shore in the distance. The title, inscribed on the painting at lower left, it partially cut off by the frame, but the word "Oystering" is visible. The artist's signature at lower right is also slightly obscured by the frame, but the last name Matthew is clear.
(Keywords: Princes Bay, Shellfish, Fishing, New York)
Acquisition Museum Purchase
Ownership and History The type of boat portrayed in the artwork, which was called a "Staten Island skiff" or a "Yankee skiff," was a distinctive form developed by local watermen working in the bays and inlets of Staten Island and northern New Jersey. As skilled oystermen migrated down the eastern coast of the United States, the use of Staten Island skiffs spread, particularly along the lower York River in Virginia.
Earliest Date 1850
Latest Date 1855
Subjects Boats
Marine paintings
Oystering
Lexicon Sub-category Art
Catalog Number P01.0057
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, 2012.
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.