Pick of the week

Country Life Every Week - - Art Market -

Most frus­trat­ingly, al­most ev­ery­thing that I should like to write about Mon­tague Daw­son’s paint­ings of the sea and ships has been ex­pressed by Mar­tyn Downer, the Nel­so­nian his­to­rian, in his suc­cinct in­tro­duc­tory es­say to Mac­connal-mason’s forth­com­ing show. The only painter that I can think of who comes close to Daw­son as a por­traitist of time­less, soul­less, all-pow­er­ful seawa­ter is Charles Napier Hemy, but Daw­son out­does him in con­vey­ing the unity of wa­ter and wind by which all ves­sels, and par­tic­u­larly sail­ing ves­sels, are held sus­pended. There is ex­cite­ment, and of­ten dan­ger, in ev­ery one of the 20 can­vases on of­fer at 17, Duke Street, St James’s, SW1, be­tween June 20 and July 7, whether the sub­ject is rac­ing on the So­lent, Cutty Sark round­ing the Horn or Thames barges in a stiff North Sea breeze. Then there is more im­me­di­ate dan­ger in The Stricken Kelly (above), Lord Mount­bat­ten’s un­chancy de­stroyer that es­caped de­struc­tion three times be­tween De­cem­ber 1939 and May 1940, only to be sunk with the loss of half her crew off Crete in May 1941. Daw­son’s paint­ing, which so pleased Mount­bat­ten that he com­mis­sioned a larger ver­sion, shows the ear­lier ac­tion dur­ing the Bat­tle of Norway, when she was tor­pe­doed and hit by nu­mer­ous di­ve­bombers be­fore be­ing towed to safety.

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