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: $45.00
Item Number: P423
Publisher / Author: Portsmouth Marine Society
ISBN: 978-0-915819-42-3
No. 34 - The Bold Art & Brash Life of John Haley Bellamy
By: James A. Craig.

On the centennial of the death of John Haley Bellamy, nothing could be more appropriate for the Portsmouth Marine Society Press than to replace Yvonne Brault Smith’s out-of-print John Haley Bellamy: Carver of Eagles (publication no. 1, 1982) with a new and improved study on this local legend.
Centennial exhibitions are a staple of the Portsmouth Historical Society and its partners. In the past decade we have celebrated both Treaties of Portsmouth (1905 and 1713) on their recent 100th anniversaries in our John Paul Jones House. The 2014 Portsmouth Historical Society retrospective exhibition of Bellamy’s many iconic eagles and other woodcarvings opens in the Society’s Discover Portsmouth, the renovated 1810 Portsmouth Academy building that formerly served as the city’s library, 100 years and one day from his passing.
The merger of the Portsmouth Marine Society’s press with the Portsmouth Historical Society, beginning with the publication of Maritime Portsmouth: The Sawtelle Collection (publication no. 31 in 2011) brought renewed attention to the examples of Bellamy’s woodcarvings that the Sawtelles had acquired from New Castle, New Hampshire neighbor, Joe Copley. For that book James A. Craig wrote expert catalog entries for both Bellamy and his friend, George S. Wasson. His new research led to an exciting lecture at Discover Portsmouth, and eventually to this book.
While others have investigated aspects of Bellamy’s life, Jim Craig has pulled all the available documentary and material evidence together to retell his brash life in full detail and brought a curator’s eye to the bold art of this pioneer icon maker. This new study includes examples of his work that were not known thirty years ago, and makes extensive use of two collections of written documents that had not yet found their way into research libraries or museums.
Threaded throughout this handsome volume, too, is the long and complicated story of John Haley Bellamy’s largest and most famous work, the Lancaster eagle. This figurehead, which now graces the entrance into the Mariners’ Museum at Newport News, Virginia, must count as both his largest and most impressive sculpture.
Moreover, Jim Craig follows Bellamy’s influence upon other woodcarvers; not only his contemporaries like Wasson, Ivah W. Spinney, and Capt. Edward Adams, but contemporary artists like Artie Swanson, Michael Dow and Dave Kaselauskas in southern Maine, and others from ‘away’ who have offered the American public his most famous patriotic symbols, the “Portsmouth” and “Kittery” eagles, for nearly the whole century past. These are just the kind of Portsmouth stories we exist to tell!

Richard M. Candee,
President, Portsmouth Historical Society

Portsmouth Marine Society
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