AN ADMIRAL YACHT AND MAN-O-WAR IN THE SOLENT FRANCIS SWAINE
Circa 1715 – 1782 Oil on canvas 18 ½ x 47 inches Framed size 21 ½ x 50 ½ inches
Born before 1720, Swaine started his working life as a messenger for the Royal Navy. His interest in marine paintings must have come from his numerous visits to Navel ships.The start of his artistic career is unrecorded but as a contemporary of Charles Brooking, whose paintings he sometimes copied in his early days, would lead one to believe he had some contact with that master. Swaine’s style owes also much to the work of his father-in-law Peter Monamy - another contemporary whose treatment of the sea is more free and active than that of Brooking.By 1761 Swaine was exhibiting at the Free Society of Artists in London and he contributed many paintings to their exhibitions right until his death. Indeed in 1782 he set aside seven paintings for the Society’s 1783 exhibition, all of which were exhibited posthumously.He also became a regular contributor to the Society of Artists exhibitions.It is curious though that he never exhibited at the Royal Academy.His admiration for Peter Monamy was so great, that Francis named his son Monamy, who also became a successful painter of marine and still life subjects. Swaine was a master of lighting and mood in his work and was an excellent draughtsman who seems to be even more accomplished than his hero Monamy. Francis Swaine died in London in 1782.
Works in Public Collections: City Art Gallery, Glasgow; National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (17 works); Victoria & Albert Museum; Canadian Museum, Toronto.
Bibl: Dictionary of British Marine Painters – A. Wilson Dictionary of Sea Painters – E H H Archibald