Clyde Shipping, Wet Moonlit Night 1883 by John Atkinson Grimshaw
- Purchased directly from the artist;
- 19.50 x 29.50 ins
49.53 x 74.93 cms
- Oil on canvas
- Catalogue No:
- About Artwork
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With darkness falling, Clyde Shipping, Wet Moonlit Night depicts the moonlit docks in Scotland that had a booming shipbuilding industry at the end of the nineteenth century. This highly atmospheric harbour scene is characteristic of Grimshaw during his artistic peak, with his moonlit urban scenes being so evocative of Victorian life of the late nineteenth century. The docks along the banks of the Clyde were a favourite subject for Grimshaw and one he revisited on numerous occasions. By the end of the nineteenth century Glasgow and its neighbouring towns, such as Greenock, had become the industrial heartbeat of the British Empire with the ship building yards in particular providing the means to link the far flung territories of the Empire. Indeed, by this period nearly four hundred ships a year passed through the wharfs and quays of the Clyde with sugar from the Caribbean ready for processing.
Grimshaw was fascinated by these new urban industrial centres and depicted them with a superb technical accuracy. In the present work the moonlight shimmers on the newly wet street and a lady folds away her umbrella, silhouetted against a tall gas lamp. The warm lights of the shop-fronts bathe the street in an orange glow and the twisting rigging and masts of the ships packed together at the quay side give a spider’s web appearance against the gloaming evening sky. The atmospheric lighting of the work gives a palpable sense of mystery that is both intriguing and compelling.
From the 1870s onwards there was a dramatic increase in Grimshaw’s production of these nocturnal dock scenes as wealthy merchants, industrialists and businessmen, newly rich off the back of the boom in British industry sought to buy his depictions of their cities. By the time the present work was completed Grimshaw was one of the most successful commercial artists in Britain who had found an artistic formula for depicting the new industrial age.
If you'd like to learn more about John Atkinson Grimshaw, visit the artist page.
About John Atkinson Grimshaw
Purchased directly from the artist;
Private Collection, Canada and thence by family descent;
Private Collection, United Kingdom.
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