Seven Continents, Seven Seas

Exhibition Dates: February 9th, 2012 – March 24, 2013

This year marked the tenth anniversary of the gift of the entire holdings of the former Kendall Whaling Museum to the permanent collection of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. This provided a fitting occasion for showing highlights, reflecting the broad international and chronological compass of our combined collections. 

Oil on canvas by Esaias van den Velde, Dutch, circa 1617. (2001.100.4763)

The core collection of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society concentrated on the whaling and manufacturing history, seafaring prowess, and ethnically diverse community of the New Bedford Port District. The Kendall Collection brought unprecedented compass to the international and multicultural dimensions of the Museum’s mission, enlarging the context of New Bedford’s role as the hub of a great and far-reaching network of seaborne enterprise, and as one of the most cosmopolitan and multinational municipalities anywhere. An array of Dutch Old Master whaling paintings were represented, along with major British marine paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries, a few by Continental European and American painters (some by artists from New Bedford), visions of Africa, Australia, and Antarctica, and one or two of our 30+ Japanese scrolls. In fact, all seven continents and all seven seas were represented in paintings and watercolors, seasoned with a handful of ship models and sculptural works, selected for their artistic merit and diversity.

Ships in Convoy. Oil on canvas by Abraham Matthuys, Flemish, circa 1620. (2001.100.4486)