Homeward Bound, 1914

by Montague Dawson


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 19 x 20 inches (48.3 x 50.8 cm)
SIGNATURE: Signed and dated (lower right)
MEDIUM: Gouache on paper


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    Catalogue No: 2552 Categories: , ,

    This work is from an early point in Dawson’s career the artist was only nineteen years of age, although it bears many of the characteristics of his more mature style. The clipper ship, one of Dawson’s most famed subjects, is taking full advantage of the fresh breeze, most probably on a tea race from China or India to England, although Dawson gives no definitive clue as to her cargo or her intended destination. These ships were considered to be the fastest on the water in the late nineteenth century, and this ship appears to be racing home rather than outward-bound, due to the low position of her hull as she clips through the swell.
    This nostalgic scene demonstrates Dawson’s artistic credentials in his ability to master the intricate details of the ship, whilst capturing the oceanic breeze and atmospheric weather conditions of early evening.

    With Frost and Reed, London

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    Montague Dawson is widely considered the leading Marine artist of the Twentieth Century. Painting the sea was in Montague Dawson’s heritage – his grandfather being marine painter Henry Dawson (1811-1878). His father was also a keen yachtsman, and much of his childhood was spent on Southampton Water where he watched, sailed and studied ships. Around 1910, Dawson decided to work at a commercial art studio in London, but when the First World War broke out he joined the Royal Navy. Charles Napier Hemy (1841-1917), a fellow fighter he met in Falmouth, considerably influenced Dawson’s work. Dawson was present at the final surrender of the German Grand Fleet and many of his illustrations depicting the event were published in the newspaper, ‘The Sphere’.
    After the War, Montague Dawson established himself as a professional marine artist. Stylistically he worked with great attention to detail and accuracy, concentrating on historical subjects and portraits of deep-water sailing ships. The ships are often sailing at a stiff breeze or on high seas, giving Dawson the opportunity to display his bravura with looser, longer brushstrokes.

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