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THE SOI-DISANT BRIG, 'THOMAS WALLACE'
PAINTED IN TWO POSITIONS OFF THE PORT OF DOVER
WITH A PILOT BOAT & CASTLE BEYOND
Flourished 1797 – 1832
Oil on canvas 25 x 35 inches
Framed size 31 ½ x 41 inches
Disappointingly little is known about this artist whose style is distinctive and whose fine quality pictures are full of the drama of the sea. His address when he first exhibited in 1797 was at Temple Bar but in 1806 he had moved to the Angel, Islington. Webster specialized in coastal scenes, harbours and storms.
His first painting at the Royal Academy was exhibited in 1826. He also exhibited at the British Institution between 1816 and 1832. It is worth noting that the British Institution took marine painting more seriously than the Royal Academy at that time.
In 1801 he showed a view of the Gold Coast ‘taken on the spot’ and in 1821 a Dutch view and another of Mount Lebanon.
His pictures of Men -O’-War off the coast often constitute excellent ship portraits and historical records as well as being attractively composed sea pieces with the elements of sea and sky well handled. His work did not start to attract much attention until about 1972 when the prices of his paintings started soaring partly due to little knowledge of the artist’s life.
He exhibited 13 exhibits in the Royal Academy between 1797 and 1826, 11 at the British Institution and 4 at Suffolk Street. Some of his paintings had rather vague titles such as, ‘Shipping’ or ‘Drawing of a Ship’ but in 1825 he showed an ambitious scene of the Battle of Trafalgar, which he painted for the Epping Place Society.
Webster travelled many places visiting Holland, Tripoli and the Gold Coast of Africa. In 1802 Webster accompanied John Varley who was a friend, on a tour of Wales where they sketched the landscape.
Although his beautifully observed marines place him amongst the top British Marine painters many have not aged well, often suffering from major paint shrinkage causing wide cracks. However this particular work has not suffered from this and is one of the finest examples of his work.
Museums: National Maritime Museum & Greenwich
Bibl: Dictionary of Sea Painters
19th Century Marine Painting – Denys Brook Hart
British Marine Painters – H. Lewis
|Height||25.00 inch||(63.50 cm)|
|Width||35.00 inch||(88.90 cm)|
|External Height||31.50 inch||(80.01 cm)|
|External Width||41.00 inch||(104.14 cm)|
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