Robert Cleveley (1747–1809)

Careening a Boat at Dove

Watercolour, 6 x 9 1/4 in (15 x 23.5 cm) Signed and inscribed Dover 1790.

It was a common sight in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to see boats drawn up on the shore for careening as the tide began to recede. The vessels would often rest on timbers, tied up to anchors to preserve the tilt. Here both sides of the vessel and the rudder are being cleared of barnacles. Robert Cleveley was known for the precision of his marine drawing, but as well as the shipping the figures engage our attention. The inheritance from the Van de Veldes is clear, but is here translated to the English shore on a tranquil evening after the day’s fishing is done.

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