Isle of Shoals Humpbacks – Portsmouth, New Hampshire - Atlas Obscura
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Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Isle of Shoals Humpbacks

One of 100 “Whaling Wall" murals painted in 13 different countries by a renowned marine life artist. 

A life-sized mural of humpback whales painted by a famous artist can be found next to a parking lot in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It would be easy to quickly glance at the painting without realizing it’s one of 100 “Whaling Walls” created over 27 years by the renowned environmental artist Wyland in five continents, 13 countries, and 79 different cities.

Wyland’s murals depict a diverse array of sea life. In Portsmouth, whaling wall number 37 was added to the collection in 1993, painted on the wall of the Cabot House Furniture building in a parking lot near the center of town. The mural, officially called “Isle of Shoals Humpbacks” shows not only two adult-sized humpback whales, but also a baby whale, several porpoises and other marine life.

The mural, a local icon of the town, has been damaged by weather and graffiti over the years. Despite efforts to organize restorations, the mural remains untouched and is, like the animals it depicts, in danger of disappearing.

Know Before You Go

Park in the "Worth Lot" behind the Cabot House store. You can't miss it.