Dominic Serres is considered to be one of the most talented and influential marine painters to emerge from eighteenth century Europe. Born in France to a family of nobility, he was urged by his parents to join the priesthood. His own vision, however, led him to Spain where he became a seaman. Captured and impressed into service by the British, he rose to the rank of commander in the royal navy.
With a style showing an expert's knowledge of the great ships of the 17th and 18th centuries, his works are regarded as some of the most accurate from any period. He is known chiefly for his depictions of the Seven Years War and the British side of the American Revolution. With great attention given to background and unity of light, he is often compared with the Dutch marine masters who founded the European School of Marine Painting.
Serres later published Liber Nauticus, a critical work on marine painting which was to influence numerous marine masters of the 19th century such as J.E. Buttersworth. Due to his widely recognized talent, Serres was appointed a foundation member of the Royal Academy. He was later commissioned as royal painter to George III.