Completed British 18th C, except portraits, Maritime Subjects, South East England: Artists and Subjects 9 Who, other than William Marlow (1740–1813), could have painted 'Hulks of Sheerness'?

Topic: Artist

A previous discussion has confirmed the current title of this painting and more specifically identified the location shown on the north side of Sheerness Dockyard by reference to the contemporary (1774) model of the yard held in the National Maritime Museum. It is clear from the model that the painting probably pre-dates the early 1770s (further speculation or research would be welcome).

In the course of the previous discussion, the artist attribution to William Marlow has also now been queried, since Michael Liversidge, as an authority on his work, has expressed the view that this 'can be disregarded, I fear. It is quite unlike his normal handling, and apart from two pairs of paintings on copper done for his patron the Duchess of Northumberland, 1766–1767, of Italian scenes, he has never been recorded painting on anything other than canvas. It would interesting to know who the artist may be.'

Can anyone make alternative suggestions, with evidence to support them?

Jade King, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

Jade King,

This painting is now listed as by the circle of or style of Samuel Scott (c.1702–1772).

These amends will appear on the Art UK website in due course. Thank you to all for participating in this discussion. To those viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all comments that led to this conclusion.


The bright and sunny palette is very like quite a lot of Samuel Scott, though his riverine Thames subjects tend to be grander and more staged, I don't know any on the Medway, though he was at Sheerness during his 'Five Days Peregrination' with Hogarth et al in 1732, but only briefly in the town catching a boat to Gravesend-and in poorer weather- not the Yard. Who else in his area might fit?

Patty Macsisak,

Can we consider Francis Swaine (1730–1782)?

I don't think so: the Swaines on Your Paintngs are probably not all by him, but there's nothing like this: he's neither this bright nor this original in terms of subject and composition.

There seem to be no further takers on a ' definitely not Marlow' artist here but I'd like to suggest either 'attributed to Samuel Scott', or 'circle' or 'style of' Samuel Scott', as the most likely or at least nearest shot at present. The general feel is very like the slightly more muted 'Cuckold's Point' in Tate,, but there are various examples in the London views included in 'Your Paintings' tally of 61 -including followers- which show a close warmer palette, and very similar skies. Perhaps we could see what GAC say and wind this up?

This is a further prompt to see if we can sign this off but adding a bit more information found yesterday when I was looking at Thomas Milton's printed plan and elevation of Sheerness Yard of 1755 (NMM PAH9705, one of a dockyard set of 1753-56). This makes it clear that the wharf at the far end of the inlet is the dockyard Ordnance Wharf and the large building to the right the related stores. Milton and the later NMM dockyard model of the 1770s show a pair of crane buildings on the waterfront flanking the central gate behind (which is largely hidden behind the boat sail in the painting). These are not present in the picture where the angle of the hulks on the right has also been adjusted for effect: Milton does, however, show them with roofs and chimney structures of rather lesser extent.

Jade King,

The collection have been contacted about this recommendation.

Government Art Collection,

Thank you very much for your suggestions and all the information regarding this painting. This is very helpful. I agree that Samuel Scott's 'A Morning, with a View of Cuckold's Point' as well as the other views by his followers are very similar to the GAC painting. I would be inclined to change the attribution to what you have suggested: either to 'circle of' or 'style of Samuel Scott'.
At the moment we are in the process of switching over to a new database, so I am afraid we cannot make any changes, but I will definitely add all this information to our files and make the changes once the new database goes live.

I would like to add one more piece of information which may be of interest. It appears from our files that the painting was exhibited at the Marine Paintings: A Festival of Britain Exhibition, Ferens Art Gallery in 1951.

With many thanks and best wishes,

Laura Popoviciu