ohn Steven Dews is widely considered the greatest living master of marine painting, famous for his breathtaking, highly detailed compositions of sailed ships at sea. In the present work, Dew's skill at photorealism and his ability to capture dynamic movement are fully evident. With an incredible energy, he perfectly captures the volume of the sails and the vitality of the white capped, churning waves as these vessels effortlessly glide through the water.
The subject is the famed Britannia, a magnificent vessel built for King Edward VII while he was still the Prince of Wales in 1893. The Britannia won competitions against the fastest yachts of the day and soon became the most famous racing cutter in the world. In 1921, the ship came under the ownership of King George V, who had it fitted to race against larger competitors with tremendous success. Upon the King's death in 1936, his will ordered that the then-retired Britannia be stripped of her salvageable gear and scuttled off the southern tip of the Isle of Wight. This outstanding seascape captures the power of this historic ship as she races the Vigilant in 1894, translating its speed and agility on the water with every brushstroke.
Born in Yorkshire in 1949, Dews learned his trade at the Hull Regional College of Art after being turned down as a candidate at numerous naval academies. He turned to art to express his love for the sea, eventually building a sizable enough portfolio to mount his first exhibition in 1976. An astounding success, nearly the entire collection was sold on opening night, and Dews received 17 new commissions. Ever since his blockbuster opening, Dews has enjoyed remarkable success and critical acclaim, earning numerous prestigious commissions and awards to this day as one of Britain's most sought-after living artists.
Signature: Signed "J. Steven Dews" (lower left)