In the latter half of the 19th Century the most popular boat for dredging for oysters was a boat type known as the Pungy. The Pungy was a keel boat which was schooner rigged on two sharply raked masts. She carried a main topmast but no fore topmast. The Pungy is a direct descendant of the famous Baltimore Clippers that evolved for the specific purpose of fishing on the Chesapeake Bay. The unique characteristic that set her apart from all other Bay Schooners was the sharp rake of her masts that is said to have evolved from the Baltimore Clipper. The Pungy and other Bay schooners continued to be common on the Bay well into the 20th Century but soon lost popularity to the lighter and easier to handle skipjacks which were less costly to operate and maintain.
This scene is typical of almost any Pungy and was painted using the basic deck and sail plan of the Amanda F. Lewis. The Amanda F. Lewis was built in 1884 in Madison, Maryland. She worked the Bay under sail until about 1939 when she was converted to power. Shortly after that she was sold to a Florida businessman for trade with Cuba. There is a report that in 1949 she was sold to a Haitian buyer. Her final fate is not known to the artist.
In the days of sail when the Pungy was king on the Chesapeake Bay, Pungies were often painted in a very specific fashion generally unique to these boats. The hull was a rather flesh colored pink (probably a mixture of red lead and white) topped with a wide dark green strake at deck level. This color scheme can be seen today on the Lady Maryland, a replica of a Pungy built by the Lady Maryland Foundation. The Lady Maryland is almost identical to the Amanda F. Lewis and represents an accurate contemporary replica of this now extinct Chesapeake Bay boat type.