Robert Salmon (Scottish-American 1775 - 1844). Oil on canvas, depicting a 16 gun brig rigged sloop off of Liverpool, signed with initials: 'R S' and dated: '1811' lower right. The brig sloop is probably a privateer judging by the pennant. She is hove to, and picking up a passenger (or pilot) from the gig-boat alongside, prior to departure. Further interest is added by the exquisitely detailed frigate in the distance on the left, and the typical silhouetted figures in the rowing boat in the right foreground. There are numerous other vessels in the harbor. The shoreline has a magnificently detailed view of the port of Liverpool with fine architectural renderings. The sky and water are typical of Salmon's work.
Salmon has been described as the father of American luminism, a style he developed in England and brought to Boston when he arrived New Years day 1829. The sense of light and use of color in the manner in which he captures the early morning light shows how Salmon had mastered this luminist technique as early as 1811. (PA-861)
Condition of painting: The painting was cleaned and relined around 2001. There are two small tears near the upper left corner measuring approximately 1 1/2 inches in length. There are a few small areas of in-paint scattered in the sky and water. There is a small amount of filling to the cracks in the sails.
Condition of frame: The painting has a nineteenth century gold leaf frame. The frame was added to the painting when it was restored in 2001.
Reference 1: Davidson, A.S., 'Marine Art & Liverpool Painters, Places & Flag Codes 1760 - 1960', Waine Research Publications, plate 13. This painting is illustrated full page in color. Davidson indicated there was little known about Salmon's early life until 1806 when it was recorded he was living in Liverpool. This painting dated 1811 marks the year Salmon moved to Greenock, Scotland. Of the few known Salmon paintings with Liverpool backgrounds, this is probably the largest and the most detailed rendering of Liverpool harbor by the artist.
Reference 2: Wilmerding, John, 'Robert Salmon Painter of Ship & Shore,' Peabody Museum of Salem and Boston Public Library, 1971.
This book provides an excellent account of Robert Salmon's life and career as an artist, from his early years in England through the end of his career in Boston. On page 7, there is an illustration of a painting titled 'Ships Off Liverpool' 1809 which measures 24 1/4 x 34 and is signed and dated 'R.S. 1809' and is in the collection of the The Mariners' Museum Newport News, Virginia.
Dimensions of painting: 28 x 45 inches.
Dimensions of frame: 36 1/2 x 53 inches.