Thomas Butterworth Snr. (1768 – 1842)
Shipping in Breeze
Oil on canvas
Ref Prost & Reed Provenance
20 x 28 in (51 x 71 cm)
Thomas Butterworth was born on the Isle of Wight, coming from a maritime family he enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1795 and fought in the Napoleonic wars. He was invalided out of the Royal Navy in 1800, to Minorca, after serving with distinction – serving on HMS Caroline. His sea faring experiences stood him in good stead as he adapted his career to become a celebrated and important marine painter of the 19th century. The National Maritime museum of Greenwich has 27 watercolours by him, which are mounted on sheets from the 18th century, consisting of printed signal and muster books. Butterworth went on to paint numerous naval battles and important events, such as “Inshore Squadron of Cadiz” in 1797, which are thought to show scenes he witnessed. On being appointed Marine Painter to the East India Company he painted several ship portraits on commission. There is an important painting recording Queen Victoria’s visit to Edinburgh in 1842. His son James Edward Butterworth Jnr. also became an important marine painter and eventually moved to the United States to enhance his career on an international basis.
Our painting “Shipping in a breeze” has a provenance from Frost & Reed established in 1760 in Bristol. Frost & Reed sold this painting when they were based in Bristol and the late Colin Taveneir was head of the American Dept., which was responsible for holding numerous exhibitors between 1960 to 1985 in the United States. Frost & Reed then relocated to London where they still have an outstanding gallery in St James, in Duke Street, the heart of London’s Fine Art trade. The painting is of the Dutch coast and we think it is almost certain that it is the port of Rotterdam. It is a fine example of Butterworth’s work and illustrates numerous shipping between the Dutch and English coast. His stylistic painting and attention to detail, especially the Man of War heading out of port, is painted to perfection.
Butterworth’s paintings hang at the National Maritime Museum and The Mariners Museum, Newport, Virginia, USA.
Biography: The dictionary of Nautical Literacy, McGraw Hill 2003, page 2003.