John Cleveley Jr (1747–1786)

British Man of War off Plymouth

Watercolour, 7 1/2 x 10 1/4 in (19 x 26 cm), Signed.

The man o’ war, left of centre, is making its way towards safety in a stiff onshore breeze, blowing into Plymouth from the prevailing south west corner. The billowing of the sails is echoed by the two strips of cloud immediately behind the frigate and the sense of movement both of ships and sky is strengthened by the zigzag of the cloud formation above. Another vessel to the right is beating out from safe anchorage, which topographically, is behind the headland in the centre of the picture. That Cleveley visited Plymouth is clear from a number of drawings of the Eddystone Lighthouse done in the 1780’s.

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