Montague Dawson R.S.M.A., F.R.S.A.
- Montague Dawson R.S.M.A., F.R.S.A.
- The Crescent Moon
- signed l.l.: MONTAGUE DAWSON
- oil on canvas
- 101.5 by 127cm., 40 by 50in.
This wonderfully atmospheric painting shows a post-Restoration three-decker becalmed by the light of a crescent moon. The glass-like surface of the sea suggests the almost total absence of wind while the extraordinary astral display, visible above the sea mist, hints at a possible location in the Southern seas. A notably large canvas enhances the sense of scale with the hospitable lantern glow from the captain's cabin providing an intriguing human focal point amidst the vastness of the ocean.
Dawson insisted on strict accuracy in terms of the rendering of nautical detail and the vast majority of his works, particularly the tea clippers of the 19th century, depict specific vessels , in a particular place on a recorded voyage. In the present work the vertically orientated design of the stern galleries suggest a British ship of the late 17th century, but other than that the narrative and detail is left tantalisingly ambiguous. Dawson was clearly enamoured and inspired by the notorious pirates and privateers of the 17th century and produced a number of dramatic and escapist paintings, of which the present work is a superb example.