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Oil painting - A Dutch Dogger Carrying Away her Sprit
  • A Dutch Dogger Carrying Away her Sprit
    Stanfield, William Clarkson R.A., born 1793 - died 1867
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A Dutch Dogger Carrying Away her Sprit

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1846 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Stanfield, William Clarkson R.A., born 1793 - died 1867 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122, case WN

Object Type
Oil paintings of seascapes and shipping in the Dutch style had been collected in Britain since the Dutch started making them in quantity. British artists also painted similar scenes to meet the demand from collectors. Clarkson Stanfield was regarded by many of his contemporaries as the best British marine oil painter of his time. His dramatic and accurate depiction of the sea in rough weather was thought preferable to Turner's misty and poetic paintings.

Subjects Depicted
Here the artist shows a fishing boat in difficulties in a storm, with the power of the waves manifest against the tiny craft. The Dogger Bank in the North Sea was one of the best areas for fishing, but was prone to sudden squalls, making the life of a poor fisherman even more hard and dangerous.

Frederick Clarkson Stanfield (1793-1867) was a painter in oils and watercolours, mainly of landscapes and marine views. The son of an actor, J. F. Stanfield, he went to sea as a young boy and was press-ganged into the Royal Navy, but he left the service after being injured. He painted stage scenery for theatres in London, where he was a friend and rival to the Scottish painter, David Roberts (1796-1864) with whom he also collaborated, making dioramas and panoramas.

Physical description

Oil painting depicting seascape entitled 'On the Dogger Bank'. In the painting the 'sprit' - part of the mast supporting the sail - has snapped like a twig, and one of the fishermen is attempting to retrieve it. The immense size and strength of the waves is contrasted with the smallness and frailty of the men and their boat. The wind galvanizes every element in opposition to the fishermen, and Stanfield orchestrates his colours and brushwork with equal energy, silhouetting the mighty waves and heaving clouds in a complex system of lights and darks.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1846 (painted)


Stanfield, William Clarkson R.A., born 1793 - died 1867 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

'C Stanfield. RA. 1846'
Signed and dated by the artist, diagonally, lower left


Height: 76.2 cm, Width: 69.9 cm, Depth: 10 cm, Height: 107.5 cm estimate, Width: 101.5 cm framed

Object history note

Bequeathed by John Jones, 1882.
As a young man, the artist had spent many years as a sailor. This virtuoso sea painting is Stanfield's masterpiece, and was shown as such in the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1855. The title in the Royal Academy catalogue was accompanied by these lines of verse, perhaps composed by the painter himself:
'On the Dogger Bank, in the cold North Sea,
Wearily day and night toil we;
Weary, wet, hungry and cold,
Three poor fishermen we, weakly and old'.

Painted for the artist A.E. Chalon By Frederick Clarkson Stanfield (born in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, 1793, died in London, 1867)

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'A Dutch Dogger Carrying Away her Sprit ('On the Dogger Bank')', Clarkson Stanfield, 1846

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Catalogue of British Oil Paintings 1820-1860, Ronald Parkinson, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: HMSO, 1990, pp. 273-74

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The public and fellow artists regarded Clarkson Stanfield as the best British marine painter of his time. They preferred this kind of highly finished and dramatic image of a fishing boat in difficulty to the misty and poetic paintings by Turner like the one of Venice to the left. [27/03/2003]


Oil colour; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Boats; Sea


Access to Images; Images Online; British Galleries; Paintings


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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