A MAN-OF-WAR OF THE RED SQUADRON, DEPARTING THE 'TAIL OF THE BANK' ANCHORAGE ON THE CLYDE
signed with initials and dated l.r.: RS 1815
oil on canvas
42.5 by 65.5cm., 16¾ by 25¾in.
Original canvas. There are lines of craquelure along the left, right and upper edges relating to the stretcher bars verso. Further areas of craquelure across the surface and a small area of lifting paint in the sky near the upper edge, left of the top of the ship's central mast. Some frame abrasions along the right edge. The surface appears dirty and some old discoloured retouchings are visible in the sky.
Under ultraviolet light there is an opaque varnish. There are scattered areas of retouching visible through the sky and also near the centre of the hull of the ship.
Held in a gilt plaster frame.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE.
Fosters, where bought by Sir David Scott before 1930 for £30
Sotheby's, Pictures from the Collection of Sir David and Lady Scott, 2008, pp.32-35
The present work shows a 52-gun 4th-rate man-of-war of the Red Squadron departing from the 'Tail of the Bank' anchorage in the upper Firth of Clyde; the 'bank' referring to the shallows in the upper reaches towards Glasgow. At the foremast, the blue flag pierced with white is the Blue Peter, indicating imminent departure. Her main and fore courses are still clewed up, allowing good all-round visibility in confined waters, and the royal yards are being hoisted with some hands still aloft in the rigging. The squadron are clearly underway, as the two distant men-of-war on the right and left of the painting also fly the Blue Peter. The background is typical of Salmon's topographical skill; facing south-east, the busy waterfront near Greenock, in the shelter of the hills, is meticulously painted. A most interesting feature, visible directly under the bowsprit of the central frigate, is a very early steamer, possibly the Comet. The Clyde, with its sheltered waterways, was a natural area to experiment with steam-powered vessels. The Comet, Great Britain's first trading steamer, was built by Henry Bell and launched in 1812, which coincides with Salmon's stay in the area. The steam from this vessel, as well as the chimneys along the waterfront, indicate an easterly wind; favourable conditions for the squadron to make their way to the open sea.