Artist: Francis Blackwell Mayer (1827-1899), 1893
Medium: Oil on canvas
MSA SC 1545-1125
This painting commemorates the landing of the first settlers in the colony of Maryland on March 25, 1634 on St. Clement’s Island in what is now St. Mary’s County. Led by Leonard Calvert, first proprietary governor, the group departed from Cowes, England, in November 1633 aboard two ships, the Ark and the Dove. In this scene, the settlers, in thanksgiving for their safe arrival, prepare to erect a rough-hewn cross, symbolizing the religious tolerance upon which the colony was founded. The events of this historic day are commemorated annually on March 25, “Maryland Day.”
In creating this image, the artist Frank B. Mayer relied upon the first person account of Father Andrew White, a Jesuit priest who was among the original settlers. Father White is depicted at the far left of the image, following the procession of cross-bearers. Governor Leonard Calvert is depicted at the center of the painting, with a sword at his side.