11 June 2002
Henry Dawson (1811-1878)
Waiting for the tide
signed and dated '18 HDawson. 70' (lower left)
oil on canvas
20 x 30 in. (50.8 x 76.2 cm.)
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Nottingham, Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, 1878, no. 3, as 'A Wild Sunset'.
Nottingham, Nottingham University Art Gallery, Henry Dawson, 1811-1878, Centenary Exhibition, October-November 1978, no. 56.
Dawson first experimented with maritime painting at Liverpool. The sea featured in his family history, and his mother's first husband had been a sailor on the Victory. Alfred Dawson lists "ships and boats and even the great sea serpent" amongst his father's childhood drawing passions. The inherent drama of this painting suggests that the sea retained its romantic mystery for the adult artist. He incorporates elements that enhance its traditional narrative power: a man-o-war, a diminutive rowing boat, and a lighthouse which glows through the storm clouds.
Dawson painted this composition three times; an earlier version being exhibited at the RA in 1866. It similarity to a painting entitled A Wild Sunset in the Ferens Art Gallery, dated 1870, suggests that it was exhibited under this name at Nottingham in 1878.
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