Wednesday, August 10, 2011

U.S.S. Monitor’s Turret

In Newport News, Virginia, the cylindrical turret of the Civil War ironclad U.S.S. Monitor has been carefully preserved in fresh water for nine years since its discovery.

But now the water has been drained away, and conservators are chipping off the concretions, revealing the original iron surface, where they can see the evidence of dents from the close fire cannonade of the C.S.S. Virginia on March 9, 1862. Nineteen men had to operate alongside two guns inside a cramped space that was only 20 feet in diameter.

Read more about the remarkable design of the Monitor and the efforts at rehabilitating it in yesterday’s New York Times article by John Tierney.

The painting is a detail of an illustration I did for National Geographic about five years ago.  It appears in Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist. The original is currently on view at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News. The photo is by Steve Earley from the Virginian-Pilot.

Previously: Cumberland Art


Bil Hardenberger said...

Thanks James. I'm an hour and a half away from that museum and wasn't aware they had drained that tank.

Can't wait to go check it out and see your Cumberland painting again. I still say you need to sell prints of it, I'd be first in line.

P.T. Waugh said...

Wow, the heat and the noise inside that turret must have been extreme. Not a job I would want.

Erik Bongers said...

Just read the NYT article. Quite a story. Poor Mr. Ericsson. Kind of proves that a brilliant mind needs to be protected by a very verbal mind. Not that both qualities are mutually exclusive, of course.

Aaron said...

I have family in Newport News and visit the Mariners Museum once or twice a year. I will be looking forward to seeing the new progress on the Monitor restoration. I also agree with Bill, I love your Cumberland painting, a real highlight to the museum (along with the Crabtree collection of miniature ships, "sigh" can never get enough of those.) Anyone visiting the area, should put the museum on their itinerary.

Anonymous said...

I grew up reading all about the battle of the ironclad vessels at Hampton Roads as well as about the ultimate fates of both the Monitor and the Merrimac.

I'm shocked though as to how a metal ship could stay well preserved in seawater.