Joshua Shaw, ‘The First Ship’, circa 1840-1850, Blanton Museum of Art

(Bellingborough, Lincolnshire, England, 1776 - 1860, Bordentown, New Jersey)

C. R. Smith Collection
Blanton Museum of Art

Image rights: Image provided by the Blanton Museum of Art

Gift of C.R. Smith, 1976

About Joshua Shaw

Joshua Shaw was already a respected painter in England when he settled in Philadelphia in 1817 at the age of 41. For the rest of his life, he would explore the rugged American terrain. One of the fathers of American landscaping paintings, Shaw favored the idealized style of Claude Lorrain and Thomas Gainsborough, whose work he copied as a young man (as opposed to Hudson River School founder Thomas Cole who focused more on naturalism). Shaw’s series of watercolor paintings of the eastern seaboard was engraved a published as Picturesque Views of American Scenery in 1920 with an introduction touting his adopted homeland’s grandeur. “In no quarter of the globe,” he wrote, “are the majesty and loveliness of nature more strikingly conspicuous than in America.”