This is a fine oil on copper by early British Maritime Painter Francis Swaine. It is in excellent condition for a work that dates back to the period of the American Revolution. Where today naval commands would be broadcast, the early armadas ran on a strength of verbal and written orders, carried through the fleets by yachts of the fastest quality to be found. A Red Squadron Topsail Cutter yacht breaks across the active ocean to come upon one of its own warships, with its sailed back-winded to hold position. Both vessels fly their pennants of allegiance to the British Royal Navy and Crown.
Details are attended to masterfully by Swaine, such as the forced rake of the Topsail Cutter fighting into the headwind across waves that break with white rushes of water, and the men busy with their tasks onboard both ships. The interplay of light and shadow, such a major tool of the Dutch originators of the marine painting genre and so many artists to follow, is perfectly shown here, with the deep cast warship a secondary character to the well-lit Admiralty yacht. Inversely, the deepest clouds form the backdrop to the yacht, edged with lighter whites, while the distance high above is open blue, imparting a sense of the great distance within the miniature copper panel. Of special note is the clarity of the signature and date, and the original period frame that comes with it, perfectly restored.
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