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Commencement of the Action Between the U.S. Frigate "Constitution" and H.M.S. "Java"
Date: ca. 1812
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Medium: Watercolor and black ink over graphite on paper, laid on canvas
Dimensions: Overall: 11 5/8 x 17 3/8 in. ( 29.5 x 44.1 cm ) mat: 13 1/2 x 20 x 1 in. ( 34.3 x 50.8 x 2.5 cm )
Description: Marine
Credit Line: Bequest of Irving S. Olds
Object Number: 1963.140
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Inscribed: Signed and inscribed at lower right outside image in brown ink: "Lt. P. Salmond / Dannemark"; at lower center outside image in black ink: "A View of the Commencement, of the Action between H.M. Ship Java and the U.S. Ship Constitution Decemr. 29th 1812"

Gallery Label:

This watercolor depicts the beginning of the encounter off the Brazilian coast between the United States frigate Constitution, 44 guns, Commodore William Bainbridge, and the British frigate Java, 38 guns, Captain Henry Lambert, on December 29, 1812. After a battle of more than two hours, the Java was completely dismasted and was compelled to surrender.