Shipping in a stiff breeze off Margate

Shipping in a stiff breeze off Margate



English School

Oil on canvas, signed and dated 1808

Thomas Thompson was born in London in 1776 and has been described by M H Grant in British Landscape Painting as: "A meritorious painter of the sea and shipping…his works are the least known to students of marine art, but not the least deserving of their attention".

His marine paintings are often on a large scale and depict busy shipping lanes and harbours with numerous vessels, principally of the south coast of England and often off Dover and Margate. Naval engagements feature also as do the sailors both afloat and ashore.

He exhibited between 1797 and 1810 at the Royal Academy and the British Institute with twenty-eight at the former and six at the latter. There were a few portraits among the marines and titles of exhibited works include: "A West Indiaman coming to an Anchor", "A Cutter bringing to a Flag of Truce", "Admiral Sir John Jervis's Fleet taking possession of the Spanish Prizes", "A Brisk Gale off Dover", "Sailors at a Mess in the Hall Deck", "Margate Roads", "A Cutter passing the Shivering Sand Buoy" and "The Glatton, Captain Trollope, engaging six French Frigates".

Thompson left his Fenchurch Street address in London in about 1810, emigrating to New York, but the reasons for this are unknown. Once there, he continued to paint in the same vein though and the Brooklyn Museum has a portrait of Augustus Graham painted in 1842 in its collection. His marine subjects seem to have been centred round New York
Harbour and the Metropolitan Museum in New York has two works by him in its collection: "New York from the Battery", done in 1829, and "The U.S. Ship Franklin, with a View of the Bay of New York". This is a large painting - 30 x 65 inches - done sometime in the late 1820's or early 1830s and portrays the harbour with an abundance of shipping

Thompson was elected an Associate Member of the New York National Academy in 1834 and he died in Booklyn in 1852.

The Dictionary of British Marine Painters - Arnold Grant
The Dictionary of 18th Century British Painters - Ellis Waterhouse
A Dictionary of British Landscape Painters - M H Grant
Dictionnaire des Peintres - E. Benezit


Height 86.3 cm / 34 "
Width 148.2 cm / 58 "
Framed height 104 cm / 41"
Framed width 165 cm / 65 "