This painting shows a favored subject of Bernard Hemy, his home town of Newcastle-on-Tyne and the harbor activity that the artist must have observed on a daily basis. Works such as this are significant for their portrayal of every day views in maritime England during the 19th century.
Hemy's masterful composition encompasses an accurate town scene that shows the burgeoning waterfront. Note the large wooden ship being built to the far left and the fully rigged vessel resting in dry dock for repair to the right. The harbor traffic includes a British merchantman being towed in by a paddle wheel steam tug as a fishing ketch glides along in mid channel. A lone dory fisherman adds balance to the picture from the left foreground.
Hemy has used wide blended brush strokes to realistically portray the high cloud cover and generate a feeling of what this particular day in 1874 was like. The muted tones of the sky are subtly reflected in the grey green waters of the river channel offering a skillful rendering of the English atmosphere and mood.
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