"Crossing the Ferry-Scene on the Peedee" by William Tylee Ranney

William Tylee Ranney (1813–1857)
Crossing the Ferry—Scene on the Peedee
c. 1846
Oil on canvas
28 1/8 x 42 1/8 inches
Museum purchase; 1993.006

Crossing the Ferry—Scene on the Peedee depicts two men transporting two women seated in a wagon, on a flatboat across the Peedee River in South Carolina. William Tylee Ranney has placed this scene in a pastoral landscape. On the left, a man, barely indicated by his red scarf, waits by the water, perhaps for the flatboat to return to carry him across the river along with the other male figure and the cattle. On the right, a couple awaits the arrival of the flatboat. A house stands behind them with children and animals in the surrounding yard. While the painting's depiction of water passage references the progress of American society, at the same time, the image represents rural life beyond the wealthy and genteel Southern plantations of the period before the Civil War.