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Old Ironsides – USS Constitution


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On my first day in Boston several years ago, there was no question that I was going to go stand in line for the chance to see Old Ironsides. Visiting the USS Constitution is as close to a trip to the past as you often get. Stepping foot on the decks of an actual 18th century tall ship is a rare treat. Although I didn’t have any ancestor that sailed on Old Ironsides, it was in the American patriotic sense, like walking in the footsteps of my ancestors.

That said, seeing an old ship like this at dock can’t be anything like seeing it sailing the seas with its sails full of wind. I’d love the chance some day to see Old Ironsides underway in person. That dream is what attracted me to an old black and white print of a painting by Marshall Johnson, Jr. There was just something about the full sails and the dynamic sense of motion of the boat in that old print that caught my eyes. And I based my own Old Ironsides print very much with that sense of motion and the rolling waves in his original work. Mr. Johnson was apparently a well known marine painter the 1880’s and 1890’s. Unless it was in passing at the Boston Art Museum, I don’t believe I’ve seen any of his original work in person, but the style spoke to me and inspired this work.

As amazing as walking the decks of Old Ironsides may be, this print is intended to capture the magic of an old tall ship in action. It’s a reminder of the naval heritage of these old frigates. In fact, the US Navy is only a very little bit older than the USS Constitution, so looking at this old boat is very much akin to looking at the history of our navy, eh?

Does this print remind you of your own visit to see Old Ironsides? Perhaps you just love the heritage it speaks to or scenes of tall ships ta sail? Whatever drew you to this particular print, I hope you’ll share what caught your eye the most!


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