Samuel Atkins (c1765–1808)

British Single Deckers off the Coast

Watercolour, Oval, 8 1/4 x 12 in (21 x 30.5 cm)

Atkins often produced oval pictures of this sort, in contrasting pairs, as an effective exhibition display, or for opposite pages of a portfolio. In the rough seas of this example the main vessels are advancing a fraction off down wind, whilst the more distant vessel on the right is beating, with the smaller vessel in front of it, on broad reach. There is a real sense of movement in this picture, as Atkins shows complete mastery of the reaction of vessels to wind speed and direction. The 18th century conventions for the drawing of rough water are highly effective here, enhanced by the effect of the three main tones employed by the artist.

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