Oxwich Bay by Clarkson Stanfield. 1851. Oil on canvas, 74 x 125 cm. Collection: Guildhall Art Gallery, London. Reproduced courtesy of the City of London Corporation. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

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 present 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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Created 3 February 2015