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British Ship of the Line Sailing Off the Coast of Saint Helena, attributed to Thomas Buttersworth (British, 1768–1842)
Oil on canvas, re-lined and mounted on board. Canvas measures 18 X 24 inches.
Original oil painting of a British Man o War sailing off the coast of Saint Helena Island; attributed to Thomas Buttersworth.110-gun first rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy is flying an ensign of the red with a brig as escort, and a jolly boat is sailing towards the port side of the ship. Saint Helena, one of the most remote islands in the world, was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. It was an important stopover for ships sailing to Europe from Asia and South Africa for centuries. Napoleon was imprisoned there in exile by the British.
The painting was recently restored, professionally cleaned with some inpainting in a few small areas. The black and gilt wood frame is a replacement.
Thomas Buttersworth (5 May 1768 – November 1842) was an English seaman of the Napoleonic wars period who became a marine painter. He produced works to commission, and was little exhibited during his lifetime.
Butterworth was born on the Isle of Wight. He enlisted in the Royal Navy in London in 1795, and served on HMS Caroline during the wars with France, before being invalided home from Minorca in 1800.
The National Maritime Museum in London has 27 watercolours by him, several of which are mounted on sheets from 18th century printed signal and muster books. He went on to paint numerous naval battle scenes and pictures such as the ‘'Inshore Squadron off Cadiz in 1797'’ which are thought to show scenes he witnessed. On being appointed Marine Painter to the East India Company he painted ship portraits on commission. It had been thought that he died in 1830, but recent research has found that he painted Queen Victoria’s visit to Edinburgh in 1842 before he died in London later that year.
His son James Edward Buttersworth (1817–1894) also became a maritime painter.
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