One of the much sought after larger works by Buttersworth, this fine rendering of an English third rate ship-of-the line dates from the artist's early British period. The painting is a very good example of the influence of Thomas Buttersworth, James' father and teacher, especially in the soft treatment of the sea.
The dramatic cloud formations, coloration and quality of the vessel detail is easily recognizable and shows the younger Buttersworth's unique talent beginning to emerge as he sought his own individual painting style. His rendering of the sails and the positioning and proportion of the vessels in the seaway achieves a strong sense of action and movement in this work.
In this painting we also see the delicate tonality and concern for detail that was to be the foundation for most of his work which was later produced in America. The dark foreground sea with the vessel silhouetted against a luminous sky mark this as a fine example of Buttersworth's serious efforts to portray realistic marine atmosphere, expertly producing a most pleasing result.
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