French Troops by Mont. St. Michel by Clarkson Stanfield. 1852. Oil on canvas? 29 x 47 inches.

Many of Stanfield’s sea pieces can equally well be described as sea-and-land pieces, since the artist frequently paints a bit of the shore pushing into the frame, such as the dock at the left of The Market Boat or the much larger amount of rocky coastline in Oxwich Bay, but many of his works have rough seas, even close to land, and a painting like On the Texel, Holland, which has land in the left foreground and the right distance, emphasizes the power of the sea both by the size of the waves and the two ships, one near and one far, driven at an angle by the wind, and in French Troops by Mont. St. Michel, where the Mont and approach to it could easily dominate the scene, the rough waves dramatize the power of wind and water.

Stanfield's paintings that most emphasize the power of the sea in relation to human beings and their efforts are those that depict shipwrecks, such as Wreck of the 'Avenger', and abandoned hulks, as in Goodwin Sands and The Abandoned. — George P. Landow

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Fine Marine Paintings, Drawings and Watercolurs from the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries. Catalogue for sale of 13 June 1978. London: Sotheby's Belgravia, 1978. Catalogue number 209.

Last modified 31 October 2004