Dock Scene, Massachusetts

Robert Swain Gifford’s etching Coal Pockets at New Bedford shows a grimy Massachusetts dock scene with a coal storage facility and a chimney belching smoke. Gifford pictured the southeastern Massachusetts coast, where he had lived as a boy, in many of his prints. As Sylvester R. Koehler noted in the American Art Review, which published the print in 1880, “The artist lifts the commonplace into the ideal, and teaches us to see beauty where our unguided eyes would have failed to discover it.” The print continued to be popular and was republished several times. In later impressions like this one, the date “-79’’ at bottom right has almost disappeared. Probably the publishers did not want the print to seem out of date.
Currently not on view
date made
graphic artist
Gifford, Robert Swain
Gifford, Robert Swain
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 17.5 cm x 12.5 cm; 6 7/8 in x 4 15/16 in
plate: 19 cm x 13.5 cm; 7 1/2 in x 5 5/16 in
sheet: 30.5 cm x 23.5 cm; 12 in x 9 1/4 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Ferris Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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