A naive school half-length oil on canvas portrait of an English ship’s captain.   The ship’s captain holds the symbol of his trade, his telescope with, rather pleasingly, three ships in the background.   So often ship’s captain portraits, when they appear on the market, more commonly depict the subject with either a telescope or a ship in the background, but we do not often see both.  Not that we portraits of ship’s captains in this size appear very often.   It remains one of our specialist areas.

This particular portrait recently emerged in a rather grubby state in Norfolk.   The label verso refers to Boswell and son who were restorers and art dealers in 48 London Street, Norwich from 1883-1929.   The label dates to around 1920 and the portrait passed through their hands, perhaps for cleaning or restoration.  By this time it would have been around 70 years old and ready for a clean.   The long standing connection with Norfolk tends to suggest that the subject was a local ship’s captain.

Cleaned and re-lined in a period birds eye maple frame.


 56 cm x 66 cm  canvas,  frame measures 72 cm x 80 cm. 

(22” x 26”  canvas,  frame 28.3” x 31.5”)

English, Norfolk, Mid 19th century