Steamboat Illustrations, Page 12

Belle Creole

The MUSIC and the BELLE CREOLE at New Orleans circa 1845-49 by unknown artist. Collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

There is no pilot house visible on the steamboat far right. The artist may have been prevented from completing the painting for some reason.

LOOMIS steamboat Painting 33 percent

Back in the mid 1990's I bought this nostalgic steamboat painting by popular American illustrator Andrew Loomis (1892-1959) from an antique store in Montrose.

It was a huge canvas, about four feet wide and apparently painted by Loomis during his later years (he died in 1959 at age 67) on commission from a publisher who then made a run of prints from the painting at about two thirds the size of the original.

I have a bunch of copies of those steamboat prints and one made from a painting Loomis produced at the same time of a stagecoach arriving on a wild and wooly Western street where it was welcomed by a cowboy wearing chaps, some "dance hall girls" in upstairs windows and other exuberant townsfolk.

The antique dealer who sold me this told me that the nurse who took care of the fellow who had commissioned Loomis to paint this (so he could have prints made from it) gave the painting to the nurse who took care of him during a long illness. The nurse kept the canvas rolled up under her bed for something over 30 years before it resurfaced and the dealer had the canvas remounted on stretcher bars.

While I liked this painting for its brilliant use of color, draughtsmanship and brush work I felt it was a bit cloying and more of a fanciful nostalgic representation of steamboat days than a true-to-life one.

Loomis was born in Syracuse NY in 1892, but raised on the Muskingum River at Zanesville where he would have seen plenty of steamboats that came up through the locks from Marietta at the mouth of the Ohio River about 100 miles southeast of Zanesville.

But Loomis did not seem to use much if any of his eyewitness experience of river commerce at turn-of-the-century Zanesville in this painting. The steamboat appears to have been based on the "Gary Wayne," a steamboat in a nostalgic piece of early 1950's calendar art by Paul Detlefsen called RIVERBOAT DAYS.

The building next to the wharf in the painting by Loomis has signage which says STEAMSHIP CO. - DEPOT & TICKET OFFICE. Since when would a steamBOAT line on one of the Inland Waterways ever have called itself a steamSHIP company?

Some years after buying this painting I put it on consignment with Illustration House in NY City who sold it in an auction and got a good return on my investment.

Disney Nursery Steamboat

Disney Nursery Steamboat

On Jan 21, 2011, at 3:12 PM, David Thomson wrote:

Nori -
This Disney "kid's nursery" steamboat print must date from around 1936 since the character design on the animated characters goes back to the early "Silly Symphony" cartoon shorts. Elmer Elephant, Clarabelle Cow, one of the Three Little Pigs, one of Mickey's nephews, two of the Big Bad Wolf's kids and the Tortoise and the Hare and others supporting players on the main deck. In the pilot house Mickey Mouse at the wheel with sweetheart Minnie and an early version of Goofy before the Disney artists began making him look less gnarly. At the bow, faithful dog Pluto watches a hazard to navigation, a floating log that Donald Duck is yelling up a warning about to Mickey.

This may have been inspired in part by Mickey's first sound cartoon STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928) and it anticipated the building of the MARK TWAIN steam sternwheeler for Disneyland (1955).

Walt was from Marceline, Missouri and he obviously had a fondness for Mark Twain and riverboats.

Too much pink and purple in the color scheme which was applied over pen and ink with watercolor and opaque paint used on moon and smoke from smokestacks. Print is 9 1/2 X 13 inches.

This actually looks better in black and white, will send a version of that separately.

The Disney piece makes an interesting companion for the Jay Ward / Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon boat.

steamboat illustration

Just got this from eBay Italia a 1981 edition of Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which caught my eye immediately with its dramatic painting of the wreck of the steamboat WALTER SCOTT on the cover.

Was hoping that illustrator Cesare Colombi had painted more color illustrations for the inside of the book and that this painting would be reproduced again without the text over it but apparently this painting was done exclusively as the cover color for the book. He made sketches in black and white on the inside which he must have batted out pretty fast and they don't have the realism or detail the cover has.

I saw right away that Cesare based the steamboat on one in Sebron's painting of Giant Steamboats at New Orleans. A boat called the GIPSY, main focal point tied up in the foreground center on the levee in that painting.

I'm not sure what that's supposed to be on the roof above Cesare's pilot house which is modified so it looks more Eastern than Western.

The handling of the water is well done though . . . life on the ocean wave or flood waters shooting through a crevasse in a levee break at top speed.

Publishing information on the book:

1981 - pag. 350


by Frances Trego Montgomery
The Saalfield Publishing Co.
Akron, OH, 1915
Illustrated by Frank J. Murch with 7 color plates and black & white line drawings accompanying the text.
8 X 9" 170 pages

The Billy Whiskers Series

1. Billy Whiskers: The Autobiography of a Goat
2. Billy Whiskers' Kids, Or, Day and Night
3. Billy Whiskers, Junior
4. Billy Whiskers' Travels
5. Billy Whiskers at the Circus
6. Billy Whiskers at the Fair
7. Billy Whiskers' Friends
8. Billy Whiskers, Jr., and His Chums
9. Billy Whiskers' Grandchildren
10. Billy Whiskers' Vacation
11. Billy Whiskers Kidnapped
12. Billy Whiskers' Twins
13. Billy Whiskers In an Aeroplane
14. Billy Whiskers in Town
15. Billy Whiskers in Panama
16. Billy Whiskers at the Exposition
17. Billy Whiskers on the Mississippi
18. Billy Whiskers Out West
19. Billy Whiskers in the South
20. Billy Whiskers in Camp
21. Billy Whiskers in France
22. Billy Whiskers' Adventures
23. Billy Whiskers in the Movies
24. Billy Whiskers Out for Fun
25. Billy Whiskers' Frolics
26. Billy Whiskers At Home
27. Billy Whiskers' Pranks
28. Billy Whiskers in Mischief
29. Billy Whiskers and the Radio
30. Billy Whiskers' Treasure Hunt
31. Billy Whiskers, Tourist
32. Billy Whiskers, Stowaway

children's illustrations

Hardie Gramatky was the author and illustrator of a number of children's books, including the award-winning Little Toot series.

Attached the cover and a sample illustration from the book Little Toot on the Mississippi (1973) was the fourth title in the series published by Putnam. littletoot.org

Hardie's daughter Linda Gramatky Smith's commented:

"My parents . . . loved the bayous of the Mississippi, so when it begins to flood, Little Toot sets out on a daring rescue! Everyone loves the personification of the old steamboats and paddle wheelers who floated down the river."

The other 5 titles in the the Little Toot series were:

Little Toot (1939)
This classic story of a New York City tugboat (actually a Moran tugboat that Gramatky saw out of his studio window) has received the Library of Congress award, been a float in the Rose Bowl parade, and made into an animated movie (the seventh episode in Disney's 1948 musical "Melody Time") with Little Toot's story sung by the three Andrews Sisters. Over 6 million copies of the Little Toot books have been sold,

Little Toot on the Thames (1964)
One of his daughter Linda's favorite illustrations is the page 27 with Little Toot in front of the Tower of London.

Little Toot on the Grand Canal (1968)
Linda's favorite illustration in this book is page 19, where Little Toot thought that the huge striped "candy sticks" in the Venice canals looked delicious.

Little Toot Through the Golden Gate (1975)
Linda said that her Dad really captured the "painted ladies", the wonderful Victorian houses on page 23 that overlook San Francisco Bay.

Little Toot and the Loch Ness Monster (1989)
Shortly before Linda's father died in 1979, one of the last things he did creatively was to ask her to take down his dictation of the final version of the Loch Ness book that he had been lying there thinking about.
"After he died and we showed the manuscript sketches to Putnam editor and president of Young Reader Books, Margaret Frith, who said that "Hardie's sketches are more finished than some illustrators' final art" and we decided to one day try to finish the book. My mother added a couple of illustrations (she was a published artist herself) and I edited all the manuscripts into a final book. Shelley Duvall turned the book into an animated feature of her Bedtime Stories show on Showtime. The show even got an Emmy nomination, so we felt that Dad would have been happy with the results."

children's illustration

NEW HORIZONS calendar art - 1949.

steamboat illustration

Don't think any of these are in print but each has its merits as far as content and illustrations. You could mention them to teachers when you submit possible lesson plans. HarpersJune1869CINCINNATIwharfBoatOneThirdForNORI

Interesting engraving based on a sketch by Jacob Gervis. Rather than being "box-shaped" the pilot house (on the steamboat tied up to the wharf boat) has a curved front in the style of a pilot house on an East Coast tug boat. It's hard to tell if the artist Gervis accurately captured the pilot house on that boat (which is not identified by name) or if the engraver changed the shape of the pilot house as a reflection of their familiarity with tug boats that plied the Hudson River and other waterways that emptied into the Atlantic Ocean.

Harper's Weekly
June 12, 1869

The short paragraph on page 379 that serves as a caption to the illustration on page 376

Our illustration on page 376 shows a peculiar institution on our Western Rivers, especially on the Ohio, where, owing to the rise and fall of the water, no stationary building upon the wharf would suffice for the purposes of steam-boat freight, and express offices, and where, therefore, a boat is made to answer such purposes. The boat is built two stories high, and is divided into compartments for business purposes. Our illustration gives a very complete idea of one these boats at Cincinnati, Ohio.



A "Retro-fashions" page from Youth's Companion magazine 6 April 1922. Apparently the young readers of this periodical were both boys and girls. The emphasis in the illustration is on the fancy ante-bellum apparel worn by the ladies on the levee rather than on the steamboats behind the ladies and gents.


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most of the images on this page are from a private collection.
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