Wreck of the 'Avenger' by Clarkson Stanfield. Watercolor, guache, and pencil. 10 1/4 x 15 1/4 inches. n.d., courtesy of Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.
Stanfield's Wreck of the 'Avenger' depicts the stricken vessel, which fills most of the canvas, from the stern as it heels at forty-five degrees in raging wind and seas. Beneath dark skies streaked by lightning the crew scrambles to secure hold on the port rail to keep from being carried overboard. A mast and other wreckage already float free, and we know it will not be long before the ship goes down. John Brett's Shipwreck (n.d., Bournemouth Museums) and Danby's Shipwreck against a Setting Sun (c. 1850, Paul Mellon Coll.), which also take place on the open sea, represent the next stage of maritime disaster since the sailors have already taken to the lifeboats and abandoned their doomed ships. — George P. Landow, Images of Crisis.
Last modified 10 June 2007