portrait of a royal navy warship attributed to robert woodcock 16901728

Portrait of a Royal Navy warship; attributed to Robert Woodcock (1690-1728)



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Oil on canvas in a simple gilt frame.
The Royal Navy warship, a Fourth Rate, is shown arriving at the fleet anchorage, whilst in the background a three decker ship-of-the-line announces her arrival.
Although the name of the vessel is lost, this is still a fine ship portrait, painted with the accuracy and attention to detail typical of Robert Woodcock.
ROBERT WOODCOCK (bap. 9 October 1690 died 10 April 1728) was an English marine painter, musician, and composer who lived during the Baroque period. He is notable for having published the earliest known flute concertos, and the earliest known English oboe concertos.
He was baptised at Chelsea Old Church on 9 October 1690, the son of Robert Woodcock (16421710) and Deborah Littleton. He grew up in Shrewsbury House, Chelsea, London, where his parents ran a girls school. His family was fairly affluent, and his father was described as a gentleman, indicating good social position.
In 1714, Robert junior married Ayliffe Stoaks, by whom he had several children. According to a contemporaneous biographical account, he worked as a civil servant a naval clerk. Keenly interested in ships he made many drawings of them. He resigned his government post around 1723 to become a professional artist, although he had started to paint in 1720. Later in life he suffered acutely from gout, which eventually was the cause of his death, at the age of 38, on 10 April 1728. He is buried at Chelsea Old Church.
As a marine painter, specialising in the painting of ships at sea, his style was strongly influenced by the Dutch painter Willem van de Velde the Younger, whose works he assiduously copied. With only a five year life-span as a painter in oils, it is not surprising that his works rarely turn up. He painted about 40 copies of van de Velde's work, which are often mistakenly attributed to Peter Monamy. He was also an accomplished musician and composer, performing on the oboe, recorder, and flute. He was perhaps most skilled on the flute, as in 1776, nearly 50 years after his death, he was described by John Hawkins as "a famous performer on the flute."
Before his untimely death his paintings were developing in confidence and originality although still influenced by the van de Veldes. There is one of his paintings in the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale, and one in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.
SIZE: 52.75 x 42.75 x 1 inches including the frame.
PROVENANCE: French private collection Verso: old French storage label.
London private collection.
Internal Ref: 9099


Height = 134 cm (53")
Width = 109 cm (43")
Depth = 2.5 cm (1")

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