IU

Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Rockaway Beach, New York, with the Wreck of the Ship “Bristol”

The self-taught artist Thomas Chambers based many of his paintings on topographical prints or events appearing in the news. This work depicts the 1836 wreck of an immigrant ship, the Bristol, off the coast of Long Island, a catastrophe that claimed the lives of seventy-seven people. Despite its contemporary relevance, Chambers imbued the image with a sense of timelessness by including a contemplative figure—a hallmark of early nineteenth-century romantic painting—on the beach.

Thomas Chambers
American, born England, ca. 1808‒1869
Rockaway Beach, New York, with the Wreck of the Ship “Bristol”
ca. 1837‒40
Oil on canvas
21 ¾ x 30 3/8 in. (55.2 x 77.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Morton and Marie Bradley Memorial Collection, 98.44