1830
American
oil on wood panel
United States
Unframed: 11 × 15 in. (27.94 × 38.1 cm)
Framed: 16 1/2 × 20 5/8 × 2 1/4 in. (41.91 × 52.39 × 5.72 cm)
88.161
Not on view

Salmon’s depiction of a steam-powered tourist boat navigating the Dismal Swamp Canal captures the Jacksonian era’s confidence in technology and commerce. One of the great engineering feats of its day, the twenty- two-mile channel connected the intercoastal waterways of Virginia and North Carolina. The Boston-based painter did not travel south to capture the scene in person, but relied on an on-site sketch by Norfolk artist Thomas Williamson. The image, soon marketed as a print, became an icon of technological progress. It appeared in miniature form on paper currency of several states, often balanced with depictions of steam locomotives or factories.

signed lower right: "R. S."
inscribed on verso: "No. 650/ Painted by R. Salmon/ 1830"
Gift of Eugene B. Sydnor, Jr.
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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