Captain Stephen J. Card M.N.I.

Maritime Artist

Stephen Card

Maritime artist Captain Stephen J. Card has been commissioned by the Holland America Line and other companies to paint portraits of many of their ships, both past and present.

Stephen Card

Maritime artist Captain Stephen J. Card has spent a total of 316 days aboard Rotterdam V. "Not all at once, of course," he says. "But over the years I cruised on her several times. I was hoping to add up to a year, but I didn't quite make it."Card painted the portraits of Rotterdam V and her four predecessors, as well as of Rotterdam VI. The oil paintings hang in places of honor on the new ship.

As a former navigator, sea captain and harbormaster, Card is well qualified to capture on canvas the images of great ships. "My understanding of the sea and how ships operate has helped me to depict them accurately," he notes.

Card's technical proficiency, combined with his artistic prowess have made him one of the most highly regarded marine artist in the world. His paintings have been exhibited at the Mystic Maritime Gallery in Mystic, Connecticut and at the American Merchant Maritime Museum in New York City. He has also painted the ships portraits of Holland America's Statendam, Maasdam, Ryndam, Veendam, Zaandam, Volendam, Amsterdam, Prinsendam, Zuiderdam, Oosterdam, Westerdam, Noordam,  Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam.

"I come from a seafaring background," he explains. "My grandfather was in the Royal Navy, and most of the family was involved in some aspect of sailing. And I grew up in Bermuda, where you're never far from the ocean. I got to go on some of the ships when thay came into port. The first time I saw Rotterdam V was in May 1965. I was a little kid when she came into Bermuda and I got to go aboard. I was enthralled and never forgot that first impression."

Card became a navigator, then a ship's captain. "I came ashore to be a harbormaster in Bermuda in 1982." he says. "The idea of a career in art had never crossed my mind. But I'd always done a lot of sketching, and one day in 1984, I got a call from Nico van de Vorm. He was then the chairman of Holland America Line. He'd seen a painting I'd done of a ship, and asked me if I'd like to do portraits of the new Noordam and Nieuw Amsterdam. Now I'm a full time artist."

Marinia by Fred Yeo
Motor tug Marinia painted by Fred Yeo, being one of the bosuns in 1965.
Note the two sailors rolling a drum of lube oil to the ship's side.   The one watching in yellow shirt and shorts... is Card!
Marinia by Stephen Card
Motor tug Marinia painted by Stephen J. Card (2013).

The motor tug MARINIA was owned by the UK division of L. Smit & Co.   She spent 18 months in Bermuda.. 1964 to 1966.  Card used to spend every minute he could on the tug... every weekend and school holiday.  The whole reason he became interested in ships!

Index of the paintings

All images are copyright by Captain Stephen J. Card and used with permission of Captain Card and Carmania Press.
Larger images and more information of the Holland America Line and Cunard ships can be found in the following books.

Published by Carmania Press, London.
ISBN 0-9543666-5-4

Published by Carmania Press, London.
ISBN 0-9543666-4-6

19 January 2004. Revised 17 November 2019.