• Maritime Art auction at Christies

    Sale 5949

    Maritime Art

    11 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 23

    Thomas Whitcombe (c.1752-1824)

    View of Cape Town, Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope, with a seventy-four gun ship lying-to for convoy

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Thomas Whitcombe (c.1752-1824)
    View of Cape Town, Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope, with a seventy-four gun ship lying-to for convoy
    signed and dated 'Thos. Whitcombe 1818' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    28 x 42 in. (71.2 x 106.8 cm.)


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    The role of the 74-gun ship-of-the-line:

    The concept of the '74' originated in France with the building of L'Invincible in 1744 and, once in service, she was immediately recognised as a revolution in naval design. When that same ship was captured by Admiral Anson in 1747, the Admiralty was presented with a unique opportunity to study her and it proved a seminal moment in the history of the Royal Navy. By the end of the eighteenth century, '74's' formed the backbone of both the Royal Navy and the navies of its traditional enemies and were viewed on all sides as the most useful and effective battleships of their day.

    'Nobody contributed more to recording the naval side of the French Revolutionary Wars than Thomas Whitcombe.' (E.H.H. Archibald, The Dictionary of Sea Painters of Europe and America, 2000, p. 233) Whitcombe's depiction of ships implied a specific knowledge of life at sea, although he probably spent most of his career in London. Testimony to Whitcombe's skill as a maritime artist was his selection by James Jenkins to create the paintings for the fifty splendid plates in his 1817 publication, The Naval Achievements of Great Britain.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    with The Parker Gallery, London.


    Exhibited

    London, Royal Academy, 1818, no. 351.