Ink on paper drawing depicting Captain Ahab peering into the binnacle of the Pequod, 1930, signed 'Rockwell Kent' (lower right).

Signed Rockwell Kent drawing of Captain Ahab. Published: Melville, Moby Dick, New York: Random House, 1930, p. 739, the heading of Chapter 124, "The Needle."

‌As a commercial illustrator, one of Rockwell Kent's most important commissions was to illustrate the 1930 edition of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. The present illustration comes towards the end of the book, when the ship's compass has been inverted by a thunderstorm and Ahab astounds the crew by correcting it with a magnetized sailing needle: "At first the steel went round and round, quivering and vibrating at either end; but at last it settled to its place, when Ahab, who had been intently watching for this result, stepped frankly back from the binnacle, and pointing his stretched arm towards it, exclaimed,—'Look ye, for yourselves, if Ahab be not lord of the level loadstone! The sun is East, and that compass swears it!'"

‌312 x 718 in. (8.9 x 18.1 cm.) Matted and framed. Provenance: Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York – probably acquired by the late owner from the above.

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We would like to thank Scott R. Ferris for his assistance with cataloguing this lot.
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