Search the Collection
Advanced Search

Lo, the watchfire

Date: 1844
Overall: 332 x 252 mm, 0.04 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00036382
Place Manufactured:New York

User Terms

    This sheet music praises the protection that the watchfire or lighthouse provides to ocean travellers. The cover of this sheet music has a black and white lithograph of a vessel sailing through stormy seas with a lighthouse visible on the shore beyond. It was published in New York as No. 6 in the 'Songs of the Sea' series, composed for piano and voice.
    Significance'Lo! the Watchfire' represents the popularity of sheet music depicting maritime scenes and events in the 19th century.
    HistorySheet music offers an insight into popular culture and social values at the time of their production. The widely distributed pieces were sold fairly cheaply, making them popular purchases with the general public. Music was an integral part of people's social life in the home and at public events such as balls, recitals, concerts and theatre shows.

    Maritime scenes, events and stories were commonly depicted on sheet music covers. The launch, commission or arrival of a specific ship was often commemorated in the lyrics and cover designs. For people living in the 19th century the sea and maritime vessels was an everyday part of life, necessary for the transportation of commercial cargo, passengers, whalers, mail and naval forces.

    The first line of 'Lo! the watchfire':

    Lo! the watchfire shines afar
    Danger comes not near us
    Lo! the ocean's guiding star
    Brightly burns to cheer us
    Related People
    Publisher: J F Atwill

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.