British 19th C, except portraits, Maritime Subjects 11 Who painted 'Guardship off the Nore'?

Guardship off The Nore
Topic: Artist

Suggestions for the artist and other examples of his work would be welcome.

The painting was formerly in the collection of the Birmingham screw manufacturer Frederick Nettlefold (d.1881) as the work of Clarkson Stanfield (1793–1867). It was included as a Stanfield in the printed Nettlefold catalogue.

Though the sky might be Stanfield, the rest isn't. I formerly wondered about James Baker Pyne (1800–1870), mainly for the way the sunlit cliffs in the background are done, but could not find anything in a list (or a copy thereof) of his works which I think I saw in the National Portrait Gallery. So far, I have not pursued the matter further.

Until recently, it hung for many years in a corridor just outside my office. It’s been puzzling me for far too long.

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

11 comments

Felicity Herring,

Have you considered that it maybe by George Chambers (1803-1840)?
FISHING VESSELS IN A HEAVY SWELL OFF WHITBY looks quite similar, it was sold by Christies in a Maritime Art sale 5482 sale item 91.

Thanks, but I know Chambers well and am sure it isn't. Someone long ago suggested 'Norwich School' but while I can see why that might cross the mind I've not seen anything convincing in support.

Yes; and in terms of any single artist's work it perhaps most frequently in Turner's, but in all instances, irrespective of artist, well out on the Nore Sand anchorage, usually from north and west, emphasizing its isolation, not from the east (which it would have to be here) placing it close in under a higher coast than that of the Isle of Grain, which is what is the land behind would have to be - though one has to take artistic licence into account. And, as already in the information supplied opnline (and your image) guardships were bigger, at least two-deckers. I also can't think of another Thames picture with sailing trawlers in it of the type shown - Channel or East coast would be more their sort of ground: these are also part of the puzzle, which includes the received title. If its what it says, its a romanticized version with compositional affinity to Turner's missing 'Leader seapiece': if not, hard to think where else.

Charles Payton,

Pieter, I ask forgiveness if obtuse. I am not surprised at your discomfiture. This is a most unsettling image to fall under that title. I am only an amateur as you know but I have, since I was young, seen those approaches several times from the sea. If we are saying the River lies ahead then the two coasts shewn might be hard to find here in that orientation? Even if the Medway is suggested then the view is hard to take. I am not qualified to be in any way precise but might the key actually lie in those brutal and powerful luggers? Where in the Sceptered Isle would they be from? They are crude to say the least especially in the stern detail and they do suggest to me vessels from outside our waters. The punt is surely not British? Heigh ho this is what happens when an old fart like me starts in!!

Richard Longfoot,

Have you considered John Christian Schetky (1778 -1875)? Although he tended to paint specific events, the dramatic composition, with a lively sea and sky, certainly resemble his work.

Tamsyn Taylor,

I think it is Clarkson Stanfield The choppy sea painted in that manner occurs in a number of his works.
The lighting on the cliffs also occurs on different objects in a number of his pictures, such as the lighting on the Doges Palace in a Venetian pic, and London Bridge in another one.

Louis Musgrove,

Pieter- I have read the blurb on the NMM website.It sums it up nicely. British frigate off the south coast.I have looked at Stanfield's and Schettky's marine paintings- don't think so----and also Turner's.
I must ask the obvious question--- are you sure it's not a Turner???

Sorry all: in my view its not Stanfield, Schetky, Turner or anyone I can so far put a name to or (even without a name) produce another example by. The only other marine I have seen which chimed a similar bell in terms of the palette and the painting of boats was a coast scene by someone called Byron (W. Byron I think, but only by memory) which a friend had - and I've never found anything else by or about him either.

My only caveat is that the sky might be Stanfield but not the rest: he was reported to have added (or finished) a sky to something by George Chambers after his death in 1840, though in my view it is also not Chambers. I have never found any mention of Stanfield doing it for anyone else but if he did it might explain where the attribution came from, which is the one it originally had in the Nettlefold Collection. How it got there is something I also haven't investigated, but I think the Nettlefold archive may be in Birmingham: that is where the family prosperity started with John Sutton Nettlefold (1792-1866) the wood-screw manufacturer, one of whose sons was Frederick (1833-1913) and whose son in turn was Frederick John (1867-1949). Where the family art accumulation started I cannot recall but the Nettlefold collection, as catalogued in four volumes in 1933 by C. Reginald Grundy, was that of Frederick John. It gives no clue as to which generation acquired this painting or where from.

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