A fading evening glow has begun to capture the sky in this oil painting by maritime enthusiast and artist Henry Scott. The medium clipper, tall at five courses of sail up her masts, and employing stuns’ls at the extreme lengths of her yards, using the extra canvas to turn about and head easterly. If the setting light of the sky is truly west, she is most likely upon the Atlantic and headed for a British port.
Scott knew some of the last Clipper Ships afloat. His professional association with the Master Mariners of Liverpool kept him sailing and recording the great ships of his days and the most historic vessels and moments personally recounted to him by the men who lived those moments. The fresh breeze of one specific story is prominent here, with the white caps pushing the horizon to swollen heights. The clouds above seem to sense that they are no match in the race to make it to the nearest shore once the ship completes its course change.
Illuminating the canvas work of Scott’s textured brushstrokes, which in this case are intentionally capturing the direction of the natural elements, The edges are subtle, yet crisply defined. Certainly the men who knew the ship best would be complimentary of the portrait of their clipper, yet it is a careful departure by Scott not to show either the ship’s carved figurehead or nameboard to nail down his subject’s identity. Scott chose her instead to be representative of a great many of the last “Wooden Walls” of the world’s merchant ships.
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