Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich

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A Danish Timber Bark Getting Under Way

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich
Gallery locationNot on display

Object details:

Object ID BHC1040
Description A ship-rigged cat-bark is shown on the right, with her anchors raised and making sail in very calm conditions. She is a Danish trading vessel flying their flag from the stern. Such ships were immensely strong and used to carry large tonnages such as wood. She is distinguishable by the lack of a figurehead at a time when even humble craft carried some form of decoration on the bow. The men on the deck appear very small in scale to emphasise the dimensions of the ship. The crew of the small boat are either hauling up the bark's anchor with the aid of a davit in the stern, or possibly shifting it in order to kedge her forward given the lack of wind. The deck of the bark is crowded with men heaving on halyards and making ropes fast, while high above them half a dozen sailors are perched on the yards loosening the sails. Piles of timber unloaded from the bark are shown on a barge to the left with its identifying number '472' clearly visible. Such details assert the concern of the painting to demonstrate the importance of trade and this is underscored by the inclusion of the other shipping, such as the craft on the right, which is flying the Dutch flag. The action takes place near the mouth of a river and is probably set in the Thames near Gravesend. Although the painting is believed to be one of a pair with BHC1039 and intended to be positioned over a door, no evidence exists to support this other than the fact that both canvases are the same size and were acquired together. Scott belonged to the first generation of British marine painters, who worked in the tradition of the van de Veldes and the other Dutch artists who came to practice in London from the 1670s. His reputation chiefly rests on his topographical views of London but he was a very good marine painter, who accepted commissions like this and whose artistic and social skills eclipsed - at least in business terms- those of his slightly earlier contemporary Peter Monamy. He was notably averse to travelling by sea himself but produced many small drawings and watercolours to be incorporated later as details into his oils, such as men rowing and unloading boats, and often drew his ships from models.
Date made 1736

Artist/Maker Scott, Samuel
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Caird Fund.
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 2273 mm x 2184 mm; Frame: 2609 mm x 2521 mm
  • A Danish Timber Bark Getting Under Way (BHC1040)
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