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The Green Tree: Highlights from the Collection of the Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia - April 2007
 
 
painting
 
John L. Magee
(active 1844–1867)
Terrible Conflagration and Destruction of the
Steamboat “New Jersey”
, 1856
Lithograph, 8 1/2 × 13 1/2 inches
Inscribed (in plate): “On the Delaware River, above Smith’s Island, on the Night of March 15th, between 8 and 9 o’clock, in which/dreadful calamity over 50 Lives are supposed to have been lost./Published and for sale by J. L. Magee, 48 Passyunk Road and A. Pharazyn, 103 South Street”
References: Garvan and Wojtowicz 1977, 145.
RS 6341


The lithographer, cartoonist, and genre painter John L Magee worked for lithographers in New York City from 1844 to 1847. He opened his own lithography firm in Philadelphia in 1850 and was active there until around 1867. He exhibited his genre paintings at the American Art Union and the National Academy of Design.

The New Jersey was a ferry owned by the Philadelphia & Camden Ferry Company that caught fire on the way to Camden on the night of March 15, 1856, with great loss of life. Magee’s composition bears a strong resemblance to the Currier & Ives lithograph Awful Conflagration of the Steam Boat Lexington in Long Island Sound on Monday Eve’s Jan. 13th 1840.


  


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