Nantucket Screen

Nantucket, MA
Oil on 3 composition board panels
72 x 20 in. (182.9 x 50.8 cm) (each panel)
Signed, inscribed, dated on lower left, left screen: "E W Dickinson / Nantucket 1926"
Initialed lower right of middle screen: "EWD"
Initialed lower right on right screen: "EWD"
Private collection
Photo: Jack Weinhold


Notes: Painted in Nantucket, MA, August 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 (journal) in Sawyer house, 39 [?] Hulbert Ave. Sawyers had just bought the Nantucket house, to EHS July 15, "This brings me to your cordial invitation which I accept on the spot."

Screen has three panels and is a symbolic depiction of "Nantucket past and present," as described by Mrs. Sawyer's son, William B.H. Sawyer:

Left panel: The darkened glasses represent the dimmed remembrance of their Nantucket home of the whaling men in the Pacific on long voyages. The spar buoy indicates the ocean orientation of Nantucket life. The girl's head (my sister Esther S. Ewing was the model), the sheet music, the beach cabana and the dancing slipper indicate the social life during the summer. The compass rose represents the sea-going life. The brick front indicates the handsome houses of the town built by the whale ship owners. Center panel: The lighthouse and shipwreck represent the perils of the sea; `Oh Pequod' and the harpoon the tie with Melville's `Moby Dick'; the piano keyboard, sheet music and violin the social life at Nantucket; the picket fence, flowers and greenery the beautiful gardens behind the Nantucket town houses; the beaver hats and sterling signs the price paid for the island in 1659 by the nine proprietors to Thomas Mayhew. I do not remember the significance of the thermometer. Right panel: The American flag and ship recall that Nantucket ships carried the flag throughout the Pacific. The eye and silver dollar represent the prize of a silver dollar offered to the islander who first sighted and identified a returning ship; the tropical landscape and eye the lure of the Pacific islands and Polynesian women for the Nantucket sailors."

On the center panel the word "Pequod" is rendered in painted letters with the "u" interrupted by the harpoon, and continued with "od" incised in the paint.


Mr. & Mrs. Ansley W. Sawyer
Private collection
Private collection

Exhibition History

No known exhibitions