Completed British 19th C, except portraits, Maritime Subjects 35 Is this seascape by Edwin Hayes (1819–1904)?

Topic: Artist

It is possible this is by Edwin Hayes (1819–1904). Though not wholly convincing, it is his general subject and treatment.

This is one of many:

The collection would welcome any further thoughts.

Pieter van der Merwe, Maritime Subjects, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The work has been provisionally attributed to James Webb and the title expanded from 'Seascape’ to ‘Seascape: Dutch Fishing Boat in Rough Weather off a Harbour Entrance'.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


Martin Hopkinson,

The wooden towerlike structure on the pier/jetty should be identifiable which might help to find this picture if it was exhibited

Martin Hopkinson,

The two most likely piers, if this is by Hayes, are those of Southwold and Gorleston in Suffolk before their present replacements. Suffolk local historians might be able to advise.
Hayes was a very prolific artist at the RA, RHA, RSA, GIFA and elsewhere , and had two one man shows at Dowdeswells , but must have painted pictures which were not exhibited in shows with catalogues

I'm afraid neither of the three preceding comments have anything useful attached to them. Please attach links that lead directly to the specific item you are trying to bring to attention.

Osmund Bullock,

I'm afraid we're getting spammed. Can we get these posts (and the three posters) removed, please?

Does anyone have any thoughts to carry things further here ? Its a dormant discussion that needs progress or closure, even if only with recommendation that the collection note Edwin Hayes as a possibility.

Kieran Owens,

Could the sail be showing the name Dord, as in Dordrecht?

Kieran Owens,

A close-up of the buildings on the shore/pier might also help.

Marcie Doran,

Is it possibly by the British artist James Webb (1825-1895)?

I think it looks a lot like this work by Webb (in particular, the way the ship and yellow sail are depicted, and the way the buildings are depicted):
“After The Storm (Off Mont Orgueil And Gorey, Jersey)”
Manchester Art Gallery

This work is 74.5 cm x 115.5 cm and the Manchester work is, unframed, 77.2 cm x 115 cm.

I have attached a composite for ease of comparison.

John Covell,

It could possibly be by Edwin Hayes. However the painting looks to be extremely dirty and yellowed by discoloured varnishes. It is also showing up a fair amount of old restoration even through the photograph yet alone what it must look like in the flesh. Edwin Hayes’s signature can be quite faint at times and could well have been removed inadvertently in the past by a ham fisted Restorer..I would suggest they get cleaned and re-appraised.

Well-spotted Marcie: I think that's a sufficiently close parallel for at least attributing the Stoke picture to Webb (the Manchester one is signed, so not in doubt). Apart from general manner and the fact that the canvases are the same size, one could overlay the central boat images over each other and -allowing that one is a Dutch type shown from a low angle and the other English and from slightly above -they would be practically congruent in angle and the relations of parts: a telling detail is the form of the red burgees, which are near-identical.

Returning to Kieran's point about the (rather unclear) sail inscriptions, we know Webb painted Dordrecht (Dort) and Dordrecht boats: this is an example already discussed with the name on a sail, though the background is not sufficiently specific to conclude it shows the town

This is a more offshore scene: a detail of the buildings at right, as Kieran has already requested, would be worth a look though probably not identifiable.

Marcie Doran,

There seems to be some confusion online about James Webb’s birthdate. The Manchester Art Gallery shows it as 1825 ( The Tate shows both 1825 and 1835 on the same page ( Art UK shows 1835 ( ).

James Webb, “artist”, is shown on the 1881 England Census living at 43 Abbey Road, in Marylebone, London, with various family members, friends and servants. His age is shown as 46, and, if he provided the correct information, he was born in 1835.

1835 is correct: born Chelsea, 11 April. There is an Art UK biography draft but not yet online and I didn't have note of his 1881 address as Marylebone: wife Jane, b. Newry, N.I. c. 1835 (and a cousin, Amy Hutchinson, was also living with the family then)

Kieran Owens,

As can be clearly seen in the Manchester painting by Webb, the work is conspicuously signed on the rear or the vessel. In keeping with some artists' habit of not signing in the corner of the canvas but in or on some element depicted, such as on some floating debris or buoy, I wonder if this discussion's painting might warrant closer inspection to see if one is lurking somewhere on one of its features, such as the debris bottom left of the floating barrel/buoy to the right.

Also, in the same composite, while the representation of the numeral 3 might be a design that featured on all such sails, it is worth noting that rendition of Webb's 3 in the Manchester painting is identical to the 3 on this discussion's one.

Finally, the tall building shown in Marion's attachments could be the housing for a windmill, albeit here without its sails, which suggests that this is a Dutch scene. An example of one at Dordrecht by Cuyp is attached.

Marcie Doran,

Kieran, I think the building with its sloping red-tile roof looks more like the one in this work by Webb on the Invaluable website:

Jacob Simon,

In August 2021 Pieter thought that there was "a sufficiently close parallel for at least attributing the Stoke picture to Webb". But there the discussion tailed off.

Do we think there is more to say?

Marcie Doran,

The donor “Mrs. R. Moxon” was likely Mrs. Rebecca Moxon (née Munro)(1872–1956) of Shelton Hall, Stoke-on-Trent. She was the widow of James Edward Shelton (1862–1919), a solicitor.

She also donated the painting at the link below:

Marcie Doran,

Sorry - she was the widow of James Edward Moxon.

Thanks for the prompt Jacob: I have nothing to add except to refer again to the detail provided by Marion at 26/08/2021 17:06.
There seem to be two capital letters - 'W E ....'- in white at an angle to left of the top ring on the buoy, possibly with another one or two smaller in superscript ahead of them. The W is a bit unclear from a damage or other dab on top but the E clear enough: no trace (at least now) of anything following that I can make out, though enough space for a BB.

The other evidence we have, inc, Kieran's large scale boats composite (first attachment at 27/08/2021 01:43) with the other picture first pointed out by Marcie at 26/08/2021 04:00, is I think enough for 'attributed to James Webb'.

If/ when conservators can have a closer look, the apparent signature may resolve a little better.

There isn't enough to be clear about a location and given the boat appears to be Dutch and perhaps with 'Dort' on the sail, their side is perhaps most likely.

If Marion can post a further detail of the bottom left corner, including the boat in the distance and the floating wreckage in the foreground (which may be fishing gear) it might be enough to suggest a more informative title or at leaast a line for 'more information' use.

Louis Musgrove,

Just a thought- could this be the Dort Packet Boat--- Featured in a painting by W M Turner???

I don't think its a passenger 'passage boat' of that sort. There's a large cockpit, those on board are all dressed as seamen and though it is not clear what all the spars to port are there's some sort of metal fitting on one that may suggest a trawl beam, as possibly on the wreckage lower left though still waiting on detail for that. In short it may be a fishing craft.

This one has been hanging around pending posting of 'a further detail of the bottom left corner, including the boat in the distance and the floating wreckage in the foreground (which may be fishing gear)' which I requested on 11 March.

Whether that appears or not, we have seen enough here in terms of parallel images raised by Kieran and Marcie to suggest 'attributed to James Webb' as a provisional conclusion. This is also partly based on there apparently being a fragmentary signature (? and date) on the buoy at right, though that needs further conservator investigation.

The main craft shown has generally Dutch features (hull form and rudder, leeboards and the shape of the gaff) so I suggest the title could also expand from the unspecific 'Seascape' to 'Seascape: Dutch fishing boat in rough weather off a harbour entrance' which is what it appears to be.


There is a painting at the NG by Jacob van Ruisdael which has some similar elements. Probably with a good cleaning the colors are different . Also an other painting this time Attributed to Ruisdael on the Freeman Art site.
Ruisdael influenced a number of British artists . Like Constable and Turner.

Thanks Marion: perhaps a (buoyed) floating piece of apparatus of some sort like a fish-keep rather than wreckage, but I can't think exactly what so we'll probably have to let it pass.