This exceptional British marine painter was born early in the 18th century and is known to have studied with both John Cleveley and Peter Monamy. He is noted as belonging to the first generation of British marine artists. In 1735 he was a messenger in the Royal Navy which accounts for his interest in naval and marine subjects.
Swaine worked mainly in London between 1730 and 1782, exhibiting with the Free Society from their inception in 1761 until the end of his life. After 1762 his work also appeared regularly with the Royal Society of Artists. He was greatly influenced by the Van de Veldes and his work has been favorably compared to those Dutch marine masters.
Many of Swaine's paintings were made into popular engravings during his lifetime. On the whole, he preferred a wide range of shipping subjects and often painted them on a small scale. He also took commissions for portrayals of British naval actions although in lesser numbers than his favored general marine subjects.