This painting depicts an incident, reported by Father Andrew White, which occurred soon after the colonists arrived at St. Clement’s Island on the Potomac River. A small boat had been sent ashore, with some women to wash clothes. At the shore the boat capsized and many of the precious linens were lost. Men on the stern of the Ark can be seen pointing to the shore, where the bottom of the overturned boat is barely visible. People are trying to recover the lost goods. The Dove is being hailed to help while the Ark’s longboat has been launched and will soon be pulling for shore to lend some hands.”
Artist’s statement, Peter E. Egeli
The ship Ark and the pinnace Dove, set sail from Cowes, Isle of Wight, England on November 22, 1633. They first landed at St. Clement’s (now Blakiston) Island on March 23, 1634. On March 25, Father White celebrated a mass of thanksgiving for their safe arrival in Maryland – which we continue to celebrate as Maryland Day. At the time of their landing, St. Clement’s Island was approximately 400 acres. Accessible only by boat, it is now the St. Clement’s Island State Park. Erosion has left the island at only 62 acres.
Governor Leonard Calvert, who had sailed aboard the Ark, soon thereafter decided to move the settlement to St. Mary’s City, the capitol of Maryland until 1695 when it was moved to Annapolis. His portrait, attributed to James Van Oost I or II, c. 1640 hangs directly opposite the Ark & the Dove, in the pier between the two windows.
This painting gives the viewer an interesting vantage point, from sea level. It is powerful and evocative, and makes one consider the vastness of the water and the landscape that the first settlers experienced upon their arrival.