A stunning exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, showcases an extraordinary collection of 18th century maritime paintings. With its usual combination of scholarship and connoisseurship, the Yale Center exhibit has crossover interest for both those who love 18th century art and those who love ships and the sea. This exhibit is on view until December 4.
This first major survey of British maritime art explores the rich tradition of a genre of painting that was inextricably linked to Britain’s rise as a maritime and imperial power. Over the course of the eighteenth century, Britain vied with its main rivals—Holland, Spain, and France—for dominion over the seas. From thundering naval engagements to tranquil coastal scenes; from stormy shipwrecks to detailed views of working life in dockyards and on rivers; and from native shores to the farthest reaches of the globe, marine painting documents the stories of the nation’s successes and disasters.
Charles Brooking, “Shipping in the English Channel,” ca. 1755, oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection Samuel Scott, “The Thames and the Tower of London Supposedly on the King’s Birthday,” 1771, oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection Willem van de Velde the Younger, “Sea Battle of the Anglo-Dutch Wars,” ca. 1700, oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
A beautiful and scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition.