FEDI, Giuseppe (Italian, fl. 1792-1819), attributed to. Telemachus of Boston - Going into Leghorn. Italy, Livorno: ca 1805.

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Single sheet (18 x 25 inches). The Brig "Telemachus" of Boston and Salem arriving at Leghorn in about 1805. Unsigned, titled beneath the image, the ship shown broadside and stern flying two American flags. Mixed media including watercolor, gouache, and pen and ink on paper, framed (some minor spotting, a bit toned).


A magnificent image of the Brig 'Telemachus" arriving in Leghorn/Livorno, Italy in about 1805, painted by local and renowned marine artist Giuseppe Fedi. The companion painting of the "Telemachus" departing from Leghorn, also by Fedi, is in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The "Telemachus" was one of the many ships owned by the Crowninshield family of Salem, among the richest Salem merchant families, who gained their wealth through privateering and in the Far Eastern trade for which Salem was famed in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Their principal cargo at the time of this painting seems to have been coffee imported from Mocha in Arabia Felix, the southern part of the Arabian peninsula.

"Telemachus" was owned by the third son of George Crowninshield (1733-1815), John (1771-1842), whose better-known brother Jacob was responsible for bringing the first elephant to America, from Bengal. The "Telemachus" voyaged far and wide for the Crowninshield family, and a logbook of the brig survives in the archive of the Peabody Museum, recording a voyage from Salem to Tunis, Candia/ Crete, Constantinople/Istanbul, Malta, Algeciras Bay/ Bay of Gibraltar, and back to Salem between June of 1809 and April of 1810.

Little is known about the artist Guiseppi Fedi, except that prior to 1805 he was painting portraits of ships in Ancona, and was later based in Livorno where he painted naive portraits of British and American ships sailing and trading on the western coast of Italy. Roger Finch, The Pierhead Painters, 1983, page 147. Catalogued by Kate Hunter