Landing of the Pilgrims by Charles Lucy

Landing of the Pilgrims by Charles Lucy

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File:Landing of the Pilgrims, by Charles Lucy, Painting (NYPL b12647398-74529).tiff

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Photo, Print, Drawing The landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Mass. Dec. 22nd 1620

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The first landing of the Pilgrims, 1620

Dates / Origin Date Issued: 1856 Library locations The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection Shelf locator: PC AME-162 Topics United States -- 1620-1629 Pilgrims (New Plymouth Colony) -- 1620-1629 Men -- Massachusetts -- 1620-1629 Women -- Massachusetts -- 1620-1629 Children -- Massachusetts -- 1620-1629 Colonists Plymouth Rock (Plymouth, Mass.) Genres Conjectural works Reproductive prints Notes Content: Written on border: "Vol. 1." Source note: The history of the United States of North America : from the discovery of the western world to the present day. (New York : Virtue, 1856) Woodward, B. B. (Bernard Bolingbroke) (1816-1869), Author. Bartlett, W. H. (William Henry) (1809-1854), Author. Physical Description Steel engravings Extent: 14 x 19 cm (5 1/2 x 7 1/2 in.) Type of Resource Still image Identifiers NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b17168602 Barcode: 33333159308408 Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 8b0d7de0-c52f-012f-2eba-58d385a7bc34 Rights Statement The copyright and related rights status of this item has been reviewed by The New York Public Library, but we were unable to make a conclusive determination as to the copyright status of the item. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use.

The Warren Family

James Petri, the last owner within the Cave Family, sold the property to its current owners, renowned Barbadian architect Larry Warren and his wife, Anna, in 2006. The Warrens purchased the property in order to preserve it as a part of the island&rsquos rich heritage.

Larry, Anna and their sons, Simon and Shae, have overseen a meticulous restoration of the property as an operating sugar plantation.

It is the family's mission to develop St. Nicholas Abbey as a self-sustaining heritage attraction, cultural centre and self-supporting plantation as a legacy for Barbados.

The Warren Family has its own ancestral ties to St. Nicholas Abbey. Larry&rsquos great-grandfather, William Richards, owned a jewelry store in Bridgetown called William D. Richards and Son the son being Larry&rsquos grandfather, Ernest. Renowned throughout the Caribbean for their expertise as both jewelers and watchmakers, William and Ernest were contracted to maintain many of the clocks on the island, including the Parliament Clock and the clock at Harrison College, one of the island's premier learning institutions. William and Ernest were also commissioned to maintain many of the plantations' clocks, and likely visited St. Nicholas Abbey to maintain the grandfather clock located on the landing. Upon purchasing the plantation, Larry discovered a clock made by William D. Richards and Son tucked away in one of the upstairs closets of the great house, which is now a family treasure.

Anna&rsquos grandfather, Dr. Archibald Herbert, was a prominent doctor in Barbados his advice was often sought in settling both family and neighbourly disputes any time of the day or night. Perhaps his voice of reason would have come in handy during the disputes between Berringer and Yeaman, although it may well have altered the fascinating history St. Nicholas Abbey calls its own.

On 13 April 2013, Simon Warren married Camilla Louise Whitehead at St James Church followed by a reception at St. Nicholas Abbey. The couple welcomed their twin sons, Arthur and Henry, in May 2014, establishing the next generation of St. Nicholas Abbey stewardship. On 11 October 2017 Camilla and Simon's third son George Larry Warren was born.

On June 25, 2016, Shae Warren married Charlotte Parris also at St. Nicholas Abbey. In August 2018 they welcomed a son, Quinn.

Mayflower docks at Plymouth Harbor

On December 18, 1620, the British ship Mayflower docks at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, and its passengers prepare to begin their new settlement, Plymouth Colony.

The famous Mayflower story began in 1606, when a group of reform-minded Puritans in Nottinghamshire, England, founded their own church, separate from the state-sanctioned Church of England. Accused of treason, they were forced to leave the country and settle in the more tolerant Netherlands. After 12 years of struggling to adapt and make a decent living, the group sought financial backing from some London merchants to set up a colony in America. On September 6, 1620, 102 passengers𠄽ubbed Pilgrims by William Bradford, a passenger who would become the first governor of Plymouth Colony𠅌rowded on the Mayflower to begin the long, hard journey to a new life in the New World.

On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower anchored at what is now Provincetown Harbor, Cape Cod. Before going ashore, 41 male passengers—heads of families, single men and three male servants—signed the famous Mayflower Compact, agreeing to submit to a government chosen by common consent and to obey all laws made for the good of the colony. Over the next month, several small scouting groups were sent ashore to collect firewood and scout out a good place to build a settlement. Around December 10, one of these groups found a harbor they liked on the western side of Cape Cod Bay. They returned to the Mayflower to tell the other passengers, but bad weather prevented them from landing until December 18. 

After exploring the region, the settlers took over a cleared area previously occupied by members of a local Native American tribe, the Wampanoag. The tribe had abandoned the village several years earlier, after an outbreak of European disease. That winter of 1620-1621 was brutal, as the Pilgrims struggled to build their settlement, find food and ward off sickness. By spring, 50 of the original 102 Mayflower passengers were dead. The remaining settlers made contact with returning members of the Wampanoag tribe and in March they signed a peace treaty with a tribal chief, Massasoit. Aided by the Wampanoag, especially the English-speaking Squanto, the Pilgrims were able to plant crops𠅎specially corn and beans—that were vital to their survival. The Mayflower and its crew left Plymouth to return to England on April 5, 1621.

Over the next several decades, more and more settlers made the trek across the Atlantic to Plymouth, which gradually grew into a prosperous shipbuilding and fishing center. In 1691, Plymouth was incorporated into the new Massachusetts Bay Association, ending its history as an independent colony.

Landing of the Pilgrims by Charles Lucy - History

Every exhibition includes an object that makes a real hit with the public.  For "Remember Me:  Highlights from the National Heritage Museum" the visitors' choice was "The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in America, a.d., 1620," by Charles Lucy (1814-1873). 

As every text-book reader and museum-goer knows, since the late 1700s, artists have put their versions of American history on canvas.  Among the many topics treated by history painters, anything having to do with the Pilgrims’ voyage, landing and relationship with the native people they encountered has attracted (and continues to attract) viewers’ imaginations.

The Pilgrims’ story caught the attention of French-trained British painter, Charles Lucy in the mid 1800s.  British history of the 1600s intrigued him.  Along with the Pilgrims, he painted scenes of Oliver Cromwell and Charles I.  A London paper memorializing the painter after his death noted that, “One of the first works which brought him into notice on this side of the Channel was his “Embarkation of the Pilgrim Fathers in the Mayflower,” to which was awarded one of the prizes for oil paintings in the Westminster Hall competition of 1847.”  Lucy’s winning work, now called the "Departure of the Pilgrims from Delft Haven," is part of the Pilgrim Hall Museum's offerings.  Perhaps building on his success with the subject in 1847, Lucy painted “The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in America, a.d., 1620” for the following year.

A 1944 letter from the Frick Art Reference Library from the files of the Pilgrim Society says that that painting, the 1848 landing of the Pilgrim fathers is un-located, other sources note that it is lost.  Has it been found at NHM? 

J. Robert Merrill gave the painting, which he had purchased it at Cape Cod auction in 1974, to NHM.  The auctioneer advertised the work as having been, “displayed at the Royal Academy.” However, it seems unlikely that the NHM painting is the one Lucy created for the 1848 exhibition.  Smaller than Lucy’s “Departure of the Pilgrims from Delft Haven,” (over 9 feet by 14 feet) and clearly dated 1868 in the artists’ hand, NHM's painting is twenty years older and about half the size of Lucy’s showpiece. An intriguing inscription on the strainer of the NHM painting tell us that it once belonged to Capt. E. Mac Kirdy, of Abbey House in Malmesbury.  Mac Kirdy bought that house in 1909 and his family sold it in 1968.  Somehow, between 1968 and 1974, Lucy's painting traveled across the Atlantic, just like the Pilgrims.

We will keep you posted if future research uncovers more of the story.

The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in America, a. d. 1620, 1868.  Charles Lucy (1814-1873), London, England.  National Heritage Museum collection, Gift of J. Robert Merrill, 79.77.1.  Photo, NHM staff.

Landing of the Pilgrims by Charles Lucy - History

Artist Unknown Landing of the Pilgrims c. 1845 Oil on canvas, 48 x 61 in. Gift of J. Earl and Elaine B. Garrett and T. Clayton Brown

This unsigned painting depicting the arrival of the Mayflower in the New World from Plymouth, England, fits within a genre of mid-nineteenth century painting that commemorated colonial history. As Americans approached the middle of the century, their desire to revive the past grew stronger. Historical societies were founded, biographies of national heroes were commissioned, and pictures of the founding of the colonies were painted--all attempts to proclaim a national identity.

History painters have traditionally sought parallels between past and contemporary events. If we are to consider William H. Truettner's assertion that Americans at midcentury were "obsessed with the idea of a half-empty continent" and were thus "engrossed in nationalist pursuits," this painting takes on levels of meaning beyond being a mere depiction of a historical event.1 "Pictures are more powerful than speeches," proclaimed the American Art-Union's Transactions in 1845. "Patriotism, that noblest of sentiments. is kept alive by art more than by all the political speeches of the land."2

Landing of the Pilgrims is one of many early to midcentury scenes of the Pilgrims' arrival at Plymouth, Massachusetts. A famous work with a related theme is the mural of 1843 by Robert W. Weir (1803-1889) entitled Embarkation of the Pilgrims at Delft Haven, Holland, July 22nd, 16203. Its installation in such a prominent government site as the rotunda of the United States Capitol underscores the importance of its theme for midcentury Americans. The mural was commissioned largely through the efforts of Gulian C. Verplanck, a congressional representative from New York. Verplanck was an advocate of American arts and letters and encouraged artists and writers to explore nationalist themes. In an address of 1833, he probed historical events for patriotic meanings:

Those virtuous and enlightened men of Europe, who, long ago, looking with a prophetic eye towards the destinies of this new world, and regarding it as the chosen refuge of freedom and truth, were moved by a holy ambition to become the ministers of the Most High, in bestowing upon it the blessings of religion, morals, letters, and liberty.4

Numerous paintings of New World discovery began to appear on the walls of the National Academy of Design in the 1840s, only a few years after Washington Irving's lamentation that artists seemed uninterested in the theme of Columbus. Furthermore, mid-nineteenth century Americans interpreted the founding of the New World within a religious context. In a speech to the Senate in 1846, close to the approximated date of this painting, journalist William Gilpin declared: "Divine task! Immortal mission. Let every American heart open wide for patriotism to glow undimmed, and confide with religious faith in the sublime and prodigious destiny of his well-loved country."5 Painted at the onset of the western expansion, Landing of the Pilgrims alludes to Manifest Destiny and its vision of a providential mission as well as to the Christianizing implications of the founding of the New World.

That this painting depicts the arrival rather than the departure of the Mayßower (as it was previously titled) is substantiated by several facts. The visible land upon which the colonists stand is barren, with no sign of the bustling Plymouth, England, seaport. The presence of snow on the ground also suggests it is the initial arrival of the Mayßower in December 1620 rather than the departure of the ship back to England four months later in April 1621. When the Pilgrims first arrived the ship was anchored offshore, and its inhabitants disembarked in a smaller boat.6 The painting's content and composition also resemble other nineteenth-century paintings depicting the landing of the Pilgrims.7

Only one of the figures in the painting is positively identifable. The seated figure on the right with his foot upon a rock, perhaps symbolic of the apocryphal landing at Plymouth Rock, is Edward Winslow, age twenty-five at the time of the departure from England.8 He was a printer by trade and is presumably seated with his wife, Elizabeth Barker Winslow. Her pale complexion is indicative of fragile health and portends her death the first winter. The figure to the left wearing armor is probably the soldier Miles Standish. The older man with his arm upraised is very possibly Elder William Brewster, the group's spiritual leader, pronouncing a blessing or reading from the Bible.9 In Weir's mural a similar scene is enacted in which a pastor enveloped in light prays for a safe journey.

The artist of Landing of the Pilgrims has drawn from past art historical vocabulary in the posture of the painting's prominent ?gures. Their poses are more theatrical than natural and somewhat disconnected from one another, further suggesting their artistic borrowings. The woman thought to be Elizabeth Barker Winslow resembles a seventeenth-century Madonna ensconced in a deep red robe with her shawled head and eyes cast heavenward. The central figure appears as a modern-day Moses sanctioning God's chosen people in the promised land. Miles Standish, replete in his armor yet the most prayerful in posture, is perhaps symbolic of the Christian soldier ready to take up arms in the cause of the Lord. In the Weir mural the symbolic suit of armor lies on the deck, mute testimony of the voyage as a righteous crusade. In both paintings most of the participants are appropriately reverent, heads bowed or gazing upward. An air of solemnity pervades, and the viewer indeed has the sense of witnessing a historical event imbued with religious implications.10

Explore Provincetown in the Archives

The Provincetown History Project

The Provincetown History Project is a joint initiative from the Provincetown community and nonprofits. Their mission is to “preserve, protect and provide greater access to documents concerning the history of Provincetown through digitization.” The images below are a small selection from their incredible archive.

A 1901 photograph printed on muslin of a group traveling by wagon.

People gathered around a beached whale in 1950.

Artists at work on the beach in Provincetown early in the 20th century.

People gathered around the bas-relief near the base of the Pilgrim Monument.

The auditorium of the Provincetown Town Hall in 1886.

A 1983 booklet that covers everything Provincetown.

The 1966 cover of the only issue ever printed of Inside Provincetown.


“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth,” Jennie Brownscombe, 1914. Arguably one of the most famous depictions of the event, Brownscombe’s work suggests that the Pilgrims outnumbered their Native American guests. In reality, there were likely at least twice as many Wampanoag as Pilgrims at the feast.

The presence of the Wampanoag has for a long time loomed large in popular memory of the First Thanksgiving. A bit of context is necessary. The Pilgrims chose Plymouth as the site for their colony for several reasons. At its center was a tall hill which would be readily defensible. There was a decent, if somewhat shallow harbor. The coast was alive with “innumerable fowl,” the shore boasted an abundance of mussels (“the greatest and best that ever we saw”), and the harbor was teeming with lobsters and crabs. What is more, there were several small brooks and numerous springs blessed with “the best water that ever we drank.”

But the clincher was that much of the adjacent land had already been cleared for planting, which would save them incalculable labor. The Pilgrims unknowingly had landed in a region of present-day Massachusetts that had once been teeming with Native Americans, but sometime after 1617 the entire region had been devastated by disease, possibly bubonic plague or viral hepatitis contracted from European fishermen. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands had died in the epidemic, whole villages being wiped out so suddenly that there was no time to bury the dead.

On a journey inland during the summer of 1621, Edward Winslow was puzzled by the combination of “many goodly fields” but few inhabitants. The paradox was solved when he came across “skulls and bones . . . still lying above the ground where their houses and dwellings had been.” A few years later, another English settler related that all through the coastal forest the Indians “had died on heapes, as they lay in their houses,” the gruesome remains reminding the observer of “a new found Golgotha.”

The new home the Pilgrims would call Plymouth was actually the abandoned village of a tribe called the Patuxet, where as many as two thousand individuals may have lived scarcely five years before. There were remnants of other peoples nearby—chiefly the Wampanoag (the closest), Massachusetts, Nausets, and Narragansetts—but with the exception of the last, these also had been recently decimated.

That the Pilgrims survived, humanly speaking, was due to the assistance of nearby Indians, although some of that assistance was, shall we say, inadvertent. When the first landing party was exploring the coastline back in November, they had stumbled on an underground cache of dried Indian corn (which they had never seen before) and promptly appropriated it, purposing to give the owners “full satisfaction when they should meet with any of them.” When spring came it proved invaluable as seed, and in fact nearly four-fifths of the acreage that they planted in 1621 was sown from this unexpected supply. Without it, William Bradford admitted, the entire settlement “might have starved.”

That they knew how to make good use of the seed was—as every schoolchild knows—also courtesy of the Indians, in particular a surviving Patuxet named Tisquantum, or Squanto for short. Squanto had been kidnapped by an English sea captain around 1614 and sold as a slave in Spain. He then escaped, made his way to England, spent some time in Newfoundland, and eventually returned to the New England coast with an English explorer sometime after 1617, only to learn that his people were no more. The combination of Squanto’s extraordinary past and his invaluable service to the Pilgrims prompted William Bradford to declare Squanto “a special instrument sent of God for their good.”

It was Squanto who taught the Pilgrims to fertilize their cornfields with shad from nearby streams and to add beans and squash (to climb the corn stalks) once the corn shoots had broken the ground. Equally valuable in the short run, it was Squanto who taught them how to catch eels from the creek and river beds. In an impressive display, Squanto dug them out with his feet and caught them with his bare hands, and in a few hours had as many as he could lift. To the hungry Pilgrims they were a delicacy a visitor two years later described them as “passing sweet, fat and wholesome, having no taste at all of the mud.”

Perhaps of greatest importance, it was Squanto who served as the Pilgrims’ interpreter and facilitated peaceful, if often tense, relations with the nearby Wampanoag. Since first landing at Cape Cod, the Pilgrims had repeatedly sighted Indians at a distance, and even traded shots with a group of Nausets, but except for the message they conveyed when they discharged their weapons, they had not as yet actually communicated with any of the native peoples in the area. With Squanto’s aid, in March of 1621 the Pilgrims agreed to a kind of mutual-defense pact with the Wampanoag sachem (or chief) Massasoit, one that both sides honored, incidentally, for more than fifty years.

All of this makes it plausible to believe that, when God granted the Pilgrims a good harvest, they would have invited their Native American neighbors to join them in their 1621 harvest celebration. Perhaps they did. Yet it bears emphasizing: four centuries after the fact, we still don’t know for sure how the Wampanoag came to be at the Pilgrims’ feast. The belief that the Pilgrims invited them as a gesture of good will is sheer conjecture. No direct evidence survives to prove it.

In fairness, according to an English merchant who visited Plymouth in 1623, when William Bradford remarried in the summer of that year, the Pilgrims invited Massasoit and the Wampanoag to the wedding celebration. That they did something comparable two years earlier for their harvest feast is not implausible.
And yet, Edward Winslow’s ambiguous reference to “Indians coming amongst us” leaves open the possibility that they simply showed up, uninvited, expecting hospitality.

This, too, is plausible, for they had a track record of doing precisely that. According to Winslow, the very day after the Pilgrims concluded a peace treaty with the Wampanoag the previous March, “divers of their people came over to us, hoping to get some victuals as we imagined.” This initiated a pattern the Pilgrims would come to know well. In the coming weeks, the Wampanoag “came very often” and in force, bringing their wives and children with them.

By late spring the problem had gotten so bad that Governor Bradford sent a delegation to the Wampanoag settlement to “prevent abuses in their disorderly coming unto us.” Traveling to Massasoit’s home in present-day Rhode Island, a commission of Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins first presented the sachem with a handsome red “horseman’s coat” trimmed in lace. Then, as diplomatically as possible, they explained to the Wampanoag leader that, while his people were welcome to visit, the Pilgrims “could no longer give them such entertainment as [they] had done.” Translation: don’t plan on staying for dinner every time you pay us a visit.

Even if Massasoit and his men were invited, we err when we remember the First Thanksgiving as some kind of idyllic multicultural celebration. It was likely tense at best. The Pilgrims had been schooled to see the Native Americans they encountered as bloodthirsty “savages” even after the feast one of the Pilgrim writers would describe the Wampanoag as naturally “cruel and treacherous people.” The Wampanoag had learned to view Europeans in much the same way, for more than once European sailors or fishermen visiting Cape Cod had kidnapped or murdered unsuspecting natives.

If the Pilgrims had arrived just a few years earlier, before the great epidemic had ravaged the Wampanoag, Massasoit’s first inclination would likely have been to drive the newcomers into the ocean. Now with but a shadow of his former strength—and possibly in awe of the Pilgrims’ muskets—the sachem opted for warfare of a different kind: he commanded his powwows to curse the new arrivals. According to William Bradford’s nephew, Nathaniel Morton, for three days the Wampanoag medicine men convened “in a dark and dismal swamp” and “in a horrid and devilish manner did curse and execrate them with their conjurations.” This is a part of the Thanksgiving story we tend not to emphasize.

If Morton’s information was accurate, it was only after this covert operation failed that Massasoit turned to diplomacy. It is possible that he was encouraged to do so by the English-speaking Squanto, who saw in this alternative strategy an opportunity to improve his status among the Wampanoag, who had essentially been holding the Patuxet Indian prisoner since his appearance the previous year. Although Squanto figures prominently in children’s books as the Pilgrims’ friend, the Pilgrims soon concluded that he “sought his own ends and played his own game,” as William Bradford recalled.

As Bradford and Edward Winslow both told the story, Squanto tried to play the Pilgrims and Wampanoag off against each other, in one case orchestrating false reports of an impending attack on Plymouth, at other times telling Massasoit that the Pilgrims kept the plague under their storehouse and would soon unleash it unless he could persuade them to desist. In both instances Squanto was apparently striving to enhance his own influence as an intermediary and peacemaker, making the Wampanoag “believe he could stir up war against whom he would, and make peace for whom he would.” When Massasoit learned of this duplicity, he sent his own knife to the Pilgrims through messengers and requested that they cut off Squanto’s head and hands. When the Pilgrims declined to do so—they needed Squanto even if they no longer trusted him—the Wampanoag were “mad with rage.”

If the Pilgrims’ association with the Wampanoag was often strained, their relations with other native peoples in the area were often worse. Not long after the First Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims received a threat from the Narragansett Indians and began to construct a palisade for self-defense. Fear pushed them to a prodigious pace, for by the end of February 1622 a log fence eight feet high and twenty-seven hundred feet long ringed the entire settlement. That spring they began construction of a fort inside the palisade to render their position even stronger, and after ten months of tedious labor they had completed a citadel at the top of the hill complete with six cannon.

About that time they briefly went to war against the Massachusetts Indians. Having reason to believe that the Massachusetts were planning a surprise attack, the Pilgrims initiated a preemptive strike, sending Myles Standish and eight men to ambush a contingent of Massachusetts warriors. Upon hearing of the bloodshed, their beloved Pastor Robinson wrote plaintively from Holland, “Oh, how happy a thing had it been, if you had converted some before you had killed any!”

As we imagine the Pilgrims and their Wampanoag guests sharing a meal at the First Thanksgiving, it will serve as an antidote to over-sentimentality if we remember that less than two years later the head of a Massachusetts Indian decorated the Pilgrims’ fort. Governor Bradford explained to the Merchant Adventurers that they kept it there “for a terror unto others.” The “others” likely included Massasoit and the Wampanoag, for when they arrived for the governor’s marriage feast a couple of weeks later, they would have seen the gruesome trophy displayed prominently, along with “a piece of linen cloth dyed in the same Indian’s blood.”

Watch the video: Pilgrim (May 2022).

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