The very distinctive style of seaman and artist Thomas Buttersworth has produced here a dramatic image of contrasts. His almost trademark use of darkly shaded clouds to frame and highlight his vessels along with his noted fine lined draftsmanship created views that were both romantic and at the same time faithful to the reality of the sea.
In this interesting composition, Buttersworth has portrayed a pair of Dutch cogs and a smaller fishing vessel working close inshore to harvest their catch, while offshore a dramatic naval battle rages between British and French warships. Keeping one eye on the combat at sea while skillfully handling their small vessels close to the menacing rocks, the fishermen's toil continues in spite of the distant conflict.
This work is a fine example of the crisp definition in a painting by Thomas Buttersworth. Note the minute detail of the battle vignette in the background. The soft fluidity of his sea, and the sharp lines of his vessels have made his works immensely popular today. Many of these skillful attributes can be seen in works by his more famous son, marine artist James Edward Buttersworth.
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