Lot 312
  • 312

Sir John Lavery, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A.

12,000 - 18,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Sir John Lavery, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A.
  • The Little White Ship
  • signed l.l.: J Lavery; titled, signed and inscribed with the artist's address on the reverse
  • oil on canvasboard
  • 24 by 34cm., 9½ by 13½in.


Robert Frank, London, where purchased by the parents of the present owner in 1968

Catalogue Note

Travelling regularly to Tangier in the early years of the twentieth century, Lavery became obsessed with the sea – depicting it in all its moods and from many viewpoints. Sometimes he painted the long strand to the east of the Medina or the area close to the harbour, but more frequently he was to be found in the secluded rocky bays to the west that fringe the hill, then known as ‘Mount Washington’. On this promontory he looked towards Cadiz on the Spanish coast, from which an irregular ferry service operated.

However, in the present instance, what appears to be a ghostly square-rigger passes the ‘Pillars of Hercules’, providing the focal point of the present study. In other works of the same period, the ship is converted into a dhow with its characteristic sail set at a 45° angle. Ship or fishing vessel, both occupy the same place in a Whistlerian composition transferred to a larger canvas as A Calm Day, 1908 (unlocated). As such, the present rediscovered canvas-board, finds its place in one of the most important aspects of the Lavery oeuvre.

We are grateful to Professor Kenneth McConkey for kindly preparing this catalogue entry.