A painting entitled “Off Block Island” by Ellery Thompson is a recent gift to the collections at Mystic Seaport. Thompson was a local fisherman, author, artist and raconteur of some note. His story-telling ability landed him in the New Yorker in 1947, subject of a profile by writer Joseph Mitchell. Afterwards, Thompson went on to write his own books about life as a Connecticut fisherman. Draggerman’s Haul: the Personal History of a Connecticut Fishing Captain and Come Aboard the Draggers, were published in the 1950’s when Thompson was in his 50’s.
|"Off Block Island," by Ellery Thompson.|
Ellery Thompson painted hundreds of pictures in a primitive style and many of these made their way into friends’ homes and not a few into local museums and historical societies. Mystic Seaport is glad to have a number of his works. Mystic Seaport owns a western-rigged dragger named FLORENCE, and one of the boats seen here is purported to be her. Thompson was born in 1899 and died in 1986, but his character lives on in his books, some oral histories and, of course, his brightly-colored paintings depicting scenes from his life experiences.