[New Castle, De. ca. 1842]. Ink drawing on a 9 1/4 x 12 1/2-inch sheet. Small chip in lower left corner, small crease in upper left corner. Near fine. Item #WRCAM39938
An accomplished pen and ink drawing of New Castle, Delaware, made by United States Navy lieutenant John B. Dale. The drawing is captioned, in Dale's hand, "New Castle, Del.," and though undated, was likely made around 1842, when Dale was stationed in Washington, D.C. and participating in the U.S. Coastal Survey. The scene shows the skyline of New Castle, with many distinguishable steeples, towers, and multi-story buildings. Several ships are seen in the waters of Delaware Bay, on the right side of the drawing. Lieutenant John B. Dale was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1814 and appointed a midshipman in the United States Navy in 1829. He was one of three artists assigned to the United States Exploring Expedition, the pioneering scientific exploration commanded by Charles Wilkes that lasted from 1838 to 1842. During that voyage Dale butted heads with the famously irascible Wilkes several times, and was sent home half-way through the expedition. Nonetheless, many of Dale's drawings appear in the official published account of the expedition. He was married in 1840 and had two sons. From 1844 to 1846, Dale was a member of the crew of the U.S.S. Constitution ("Old Ironsides") during its circumnavigation of the globe. Dale died in Lebanon in 1848, while on duty in the Mediterranean as part of the Lynch Expedition. Dale's manuscript journal of his cruise aboard the Constitution is in the collection of the New England Historical Genealogical Society. An attractive view of an historic Delaware city, by a talented artist who also participated in notable American naval expeditions.