Portrait of Freeman J. Nickerson

  • Before

    Freeman Nickerson portrait - before
  • After

    Freeman Nickerson portrait - after

Captain Freeman Nickerson of Cape Cod proudly sits with his copy of "Coastal Pilot" in his right hand while his packet schooner the Lodi of Boston shows off her profile under full sail behind him. If you were in Boston in 1837 and were entertaining the idea of visiting Philadelphia, and your cargo was too heavy for a coach, a voyage on the Lodi might be one of your limited options. Packets provided the first regular service between cities on the coast which was then a revolutionary idea in transportation, as they were dependent on tide, wind and weather.

This painting, and the documentation that is found with it, tells us a story about transportation in Early New England that you might not even find in a published history book. The idea of sailing to Philadelphia in the Lodi under sail with no engine, radio, or radar would be fairly daunting to the modern passenger, but taken for granted by the traveler of 1837. The conservation work on this painting required that it be lined with a new support before it was cleaned. We restored the water-stained mahogany frame as well as the painting since both had been subject to major water damage.