Montague Dawson’s Gold of Evening encapsulates twilight on the rolling seas of the Atlantic. The ship moves east, from waves made chartreuse and periwinkle by the reflected rays of the setting sun, towards emerald water and the night ahead. The sky both complements and contrasts the sea - while it is illuminated with the same subtle hues as the ocean below, the calm, faraway clouds highlight the roiling white-capped waves that pummel the port side of the clipper.
Dawson’s works often contain a narrative, and in Gold of Evening the viewer is drawn into the scene through the careful attention to the ship’s deck and rigging as the clipper pushes through the heavy seas, a few brave crew members visible climbing up the prow. As he worked, Dawson identified himself entirely with the event he was painting, commenting “You really are there. You are living in that moment of time. You can hear the sea – that sea” (as quoted in L.G.G. Ramsey, F.S.A, Montague Dawson, R.S.M.A., F.R.S.A., Leigh-on-Sea, 1970, p. 12).