The seascape genre dates from the 17th century with the work of Dutch painters and is characterized by the low horizon line and the accurate record of the weather and the seas. Ships and the everyday fishermen, traders and sailors are depicted with realistic detail. The local Dutch market for such paintings was fueled by wealth from trade and the fact that, in 1610, one in 10 Dutchmen was employed in seafaring. Artists in our collection include: Jan Van Os, Ludolf Backhuysen, Willem Van de Velde (the younger), Adam Willaerts, Bonaventura Peeters, Julius Porcellis, and Hermanus Koekkoek.



When English King Charles II hired the Dutch Van De Velde artists to paint battle scenes in England, he endorsed the Dutch design of seascapes which was adopted by subsequent British artists. The French Rococo style color and the awe-inspiring goals of the later Romantic Period infused their paintings with color and vistas of the sun-filled skies associated with divinity. Artists in the collection from this period include: George Clarkson Stanfield, John Christian Schetkey, George Webster, Edward William Cooke, John Wilson Carmichael, Abraham Hulk, Robert Salmon, Charles Martin Powell, Francis Holman, Richard Paton, and Charles Brooking.



As artists responded to personal sensations, the “modern” seascape reflected intellectual theories such as those of the Realists who depicted everyday people and settings exclusively and the Impressionists who sought to suggest the fleeting quality of light by painting outdoors with dabs of bright color. Artists began to represent dramatic scenes of the commercial maritime industry: the hardy fishermen of Gloucester, Maine sailed the stormy North Atlantic and fished at times tied to the mast so that they would not fall overboard from fatigue; depicted is the drama of patched sails, the rough seas and yellow slickers of the men who were eventually replaced by safer and more comfortable steam driven trawlers. Artists in the collection include Eugene Louis-Boudin, John Stobart, Montague Dawson, Louis Dodd, Roy Cross, Thomas Hoyne, William Gilkerson, John Stobart, Christopher Blossom, John Bentham-Dinsdale, and David Thimgan.