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Attributed to Ebenezer Colls (fl.1852-1854)

Attributed to Ebenezer Colls (fl.1852-1854)

Two Deckers off Longships Lighthouse Land's End

oil on canvas
26 x 34¼in. (66 x 87cm.)
Sir Darcy Osborne, later Duke of Leeds

Lot Essay

The two ships appear to be inside the Longships Lighthouse, clawing off Land's End. It is difficult to date the incident as there are anomalies about the ships. Both are two deckers, the nearest of 80 guns, and are painted in a style common in the 1790s, but which had disappeared by about 1805. As we only had eight of these ships by that date, the other two deckers being mostly seventy fours, it might not have been so difficult to trace the incident through their logs. Unfortunately there are points about the rigging, such as the double dolphine strikers and quarter davits which did not come in until a later date. Therefore the rigging cannot be taken as a reliable indication of the date of the occasion. It would be easier to find the incident if one or both ships had been wrecked, but there is little to indicate that this was about to happen, especially as the nearer ship appears to be wearing signal No 27, which meant that she was not in need of assistance.

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