James Edward Buttersworth (1817-1894)

Born in London, England in 1817 to a family of maritime artists, James Edward Buttersworth specialized in maritime art and is considered among the foremost American ship portraitists of the nineteenth century. His paintings are particularly known for their meticulous detail, dramatic settings, and grace in movement. He studied painting with his father Thomas Buttersworth Jr., who was also noted for the genre.

James moved to the United States around 1845 and settled in West Hoboken, New Jersey while maintaining a Brooklyn studio in 1854. He returned to England in 1851 for The Race for the Hundred Pound Cup that took place on 22 August  of that year. His sketches and paintings of that yachting competition provide the definitive record of events in a benchmark season of sailing.

Buttersworth’s paintings of the 1893 Vigilant v. Valkyrie II Cup match were done one year before his death, completing the chronicling of America’s Cup races by oil painting just before the advent of successful photographic imagery. He was inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 1999.

About 600 of his pieces survive today, which are held in private collections and museums all over the United States, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. His work has been featured on the television series Antiques Roadshow.