The Schooner Ellenor Anchors Museum’s Bradford Collection

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – Recently, the Museum added a new treasure to its collections, an oil on canvas by William Bradford titled Schooner Ellenor, Boston, 1869. This generous gift from Herbert and Patricia Pratt complements the Museum’s formidable collection of Bradford’s work, widely acknowledged as a significant resource for scholars and enthusiasts. Herbert Pratt bought the painting in 1963 after being advised by his brother-in-law, the sculptor Chippy Chase of Wiscasset, to stop by Betsy Wyeth's gallery in Tenant's Harbor Maine. Herbert was enchanted by this painting and bought it on the spot. Years later, Herbert and Patricia saw a remarkably similar Bradford at the Art Institute of Chicago, and they knew they had acquired a piece of significance.

A truly exceptional work, Schooner Ellenor, Boston exemplifies Bradford’s mastery of light and atmosphere, and shows the influence of fellow artist Albert Van Beest in its fluidity of line and loose brushwork. The painting depicts a bustling Boston Harbor with a variety of ships from schooners to steamships entering the harbor at twilight.

A graduate of Harvard University and veteran of the Coast Guard and Navy, Pratt was a passionate conservationist, birder, and a lover of art, sailing, and nature. Among his many accomplishments in his lifelong passion of protecting wildlife, he served on the Board of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, founded Prouts Neck Audubon Society, and was a Director of the New England Forestry Foundation, which manages and conserves forest land throughout New England.

In May 2016, a retrospective exhibition on William Bradford will open in the Wattles Family Gallery showcasing the Schooner Ellenor, Boston in its new home. From Bradford’s exquisite and precious sky study series to his dramatic luminist maritime paintings, works will be selected from the permanent collections.


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