James Edward Buttersworth's United States was the top lot in Heritage Auctions' October 27 auction of the MBNA collection of maritime art and ship models.
Held at the US Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, the auction saw Buttersworth's United States headline among more than 300 lots from the collection of the MBNA Corporation, which was at one time the largest independent credit card issuer in the world.
Buttersworth, son of fellow maritime artist Thomas Buttersworth Jr, was an English painter who was renowned as one of the finest ship portrait artists during the 19th century. He is particularly well-known in the US, following a move to New Jersey in 1845.
Buttersworth's art is normally known for the dramatic settings in which his subjects are placed, however United States provided a contrast to this, with the majestic ship sitting in relatively calm waters. The piece was expected to sell for $60,000-80,000 - the highest estimate of the sale - and reached this comfortably, selling at $68,500.
The work's final price was restricted by "large areas of in-painting" and significant restorations.
Robert Dodd's An Action in the East Indies, and Montague Dawson's Clipper "Aberdeen" both sold for $35,000, tying for the title of second place in the auction.
The top lot among the ship models auctioned, which were all sold without reserve, was an "imposing" model of the historic frigate Virginia. The Virginia was launched by the Continental Navy in Maryland in 1776, serving for less than two years before being captured by the British in 1778. The cherry and boxwood model, which shows the ship close to completion, sold for $17,500.
Remember one of the greatest naval leaders in history with our impressive collection of Lord Horatio Nelson memorabilia. Highlighting our collection is Nelson's personal snuff box, which features a beautiful watercolour miniature of the Amalfi coast.