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Oil painting - A Sea piece
  • A Sea piece
    Loutherbourg, Philip James de, born 1740 - died 1812
  • Enlarge image

A Sea piece

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    late 18th century-pre 1812 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Loutherbourg, Philip James de, born 1740 - died 1812 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Oil painting entitled 'A Sea Piece' depicting ships on the water.


late 18th century-pre 1812 (painted)


Loutherbourg, Philip James de, born 1740 - died 1812 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas


Height: 15.5 in estimate, Width: 21.25 in estimate, Weight: 5.5 kg with frame, Height: 53 cm frame, Width: 67.5 cm frame, :

Object history note

Purchased, 1871
Purchased 1871, from N[or W?] Paskell, 162 Brompton Road, for £10

Historical significance: Philippe Jacques De Loutherbourg (1740-1812) landscape painter and theatrical scene designer, was born in Strasbourg, Alsace. He was the son of a miniaturist and engraver to the court of Darmstadt. He studied at the University of Strasbourg with a view to becoming an engineer, but his interest in drawing led to him undertaking formal artistic training with Carle Van Loo. He also studied engraving and exhibited his first paintings at the Paris Salon in 1763; he was noted by Diderot for his ability to depict space and atmosphere. He was a great success in Paris, but personal unhappiness probably spurred him to leave to go on the grand tour in 1768, visiting southern France, and on to the Rhineland rather than the usual Italian cities, (he is supposed to have visited Switzerland at this time, but see catalogue entry for 1028-1886),. He then travelled on to London in 1771, with a letter of introduction from Jean Monnet, the former manager of the Opéra Comique, and friend of the famous actor David Garrick; Garrick in turn was patron to a number of London painters. At first he stayed with a colleague of Garrick's, and soon after his arrival, de Loutherbourg suggested to Garrick major changes to the scenery arrangements at Drury Lane Theatre. Garrick was impressed and employed de Loutherbourg to take on all such arrangements. Thereafter de Loutherbourg's career was significantly devoted to often pioneering theatrical design, including lighting effects. At the same time he continued to work as an easel painter, and in 1781 he was elected a member of the Royal Academy. Following his election he concentrated to a greater extent on his easel painting, taking tours of the British countryside. During the 1790s, recognising the currency of Britain's naval prowess, he painted a number of paintings which celebrated this aspect of national life. At the turn of the century collections of engravings after his paintings of British scenery were published; The Picturesque Scenery of Great Britain (1801) and The Romantic and Picturesque Scenery of England and Wales (1805). Along with other notable artists he also contributed to Thomas Macklin's Bible (1800) and to Robert Bowyer's History of England (1812), published the year he died.

This painting is called by the museum simply A Sea Piece. A note on the Departmental File comments, "Showing a Hastings or Brighton South Coast fishing-boat", although no evidence is provided for this statement. In fact, the aquatint based on this design, with minor variations, by Joseph Constantine Stadler, was entitled Fishermen going out at Worthing. It was plate 6 in Picturesque Scenery of Great Britain (published by R. Bowyer, London, 1801), which comprised six large aquatint views engraved entirely after paintings by de Loutherbourg.

Descriptive line

Oil painting 'Sea Piece' by Philip James de Loutherbourg. British School.


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Storms; Rowing boats; Sailing ships; Seas; Coast-lines




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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