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Peter Monamy was born in London, though his family were originally from the Channel Island of Guernsey and probably of Huguenot (French Protestant) ancestry. He was the first English-born marine painter of note, the genre having been brought to Britain by Dutch artists in the late 17th century. This scene of a storm at sea follows the Dutch tradition of such pictures. Although disaster seems inevitable, the clearing blue sky offers hope. It does not necessarily relate to an actual event, though for contemporary viewers it may have brought to mind the ‘Great Storm’ of 1703 which wrecked many ships at sea.

February 2016