31. Maritime Portsmouth: The Sawtelle Collection

Edited by Richard M. Candee, with Appreciation and chapter introductions by J. Dennis Robinson

Maritime Portsmouth, The Sawtelle Collection, Portsmouth Marine Society

It started innocently enough. Joe and Jean Sawtelle simply wanted a painting of a Portsmouth-built ship to hang above the mantel in their seaside New Castle home. New Hampshire’s only seaport, Portsmouth was one of the nation’s key ports in the Age of Sail. Skilled builders launched important ships into the deep fast-flowing Piscataqua River as early as 1690. The Raleigh, Ranger, Congress, and Kearsarge—all built in this port—are among the nation’s most renowned early ships of war. Even “Old Ironsides” stopped by frequently for refit and repair. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, established in 1800, still pulses with life across the river in Kittery, Maine. Shipyards up and down the Piscataqua crafted every type of vessel imaginable, from speedy clippers to flat-bottomed gundalows.

After two decades of purchasing nautical art and artifacts around the world, the Sawtelles had treasure enough to open their own maritime museum. And that became the dream—to bring scores of Piscataqua paintings back home to remind the region of its glorious seafaring past. But when Joe died suddenly at age seventy-one, the dream faded and the collection went into storage.

This book is the catalog of the Maritime Portsmouth Sawtelle Collection Exhibit – The Portsmouth Historical Society created the perfect venue at Discover Portsmouth . The exhibit was on display from June 3 to August 31, 2011.

Historian J. Dennis Robinson enlivens the narrative with a behind-the-scenes look at the collectors and their legacy.

Maritime Portsmouth is a fitting addition to the Portsmouth Marine Society’s important series of books about sailors, submarines, privateers, shipwrights, tugboats, whalers, and warships. These images are gathered together, at last, in this deeply personal and priceless vision of our shared connection to the sea.

— excerpted from the flap text written by J. Dennis Robinson.

8.5 x 11 Hardcover, 214 pages, full color throughout, ISBN: 978-0-915819-38-6 $35.00

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