Samuel Read, Shipping

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Medium and support
Oil on panel
Overall height: 18 cm, Overall width: 26 cm
Samuel Read (c.1816-1883)
Catalogue Number


The present painting, and its pendant TN85, depict similar views of shipping off the English coast. Here, two fishing boats are depicted close to an improvised jetty, with another stretch of coastline – possibly Devon or Cornwall – in the distance. A frigate, possibly a patrol vessel, occupies the midground of the composition, with a large red buoy in the right foreground, possibly serving as a warning of submerged rocks. Samuel Read was born in Needham Market, Suffolk. After working in a lawyer’s office, he was employed as assistant to an architect, before moving to London in 1841. There he studied wood engraving under Josiah Wood Whymper and watercolour painting with William Collingwood Smith. In 1844 he found employment as a draughtsman at the Illustrated London News, producing drawings for wood engravings, including landscapes and architectural and marine subjects. In 1853 he travelled on behalf of the newspaper to Constantinople to sketch views of the region. He also made sketching tours to France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Portugal and northern Italy. His marine paintings were produced principally in later life. In 1875 Read’s views of English cathedrals and architectural subjects in Britain and Europe were published in a single volume, Leaves from a Sketchbook: Pencillings at Home and Abroad. An accomplished watercolourist, as well as an oil painter, Read became a member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours (the ‘Old Watercolour Society’). He died at Sidmouth, Devon, in 1883.

by Martin Postle

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