Ships off the Gun Wharf at Portsmouth, 1770

Men-of-war are shown fitting-out in Portsmouth harbour. A number of figures on the wharf are engaged in activities associated with armaments.

Serres was a well-born Frenchman from Gascony who ran away to sea in merchant service rather than follow family wish that he enter the Church. He probably arrived in England as a naval prisoner of war, took up painting and settled there. His early paintings show the influence of Brooking and Monamy's interpretations of Dutch art but he rapidly achieved recognition for his more documentary visual accounts of sea actions of the Seven Years War, 1756-63, becoming established as England's leading marine painter. His work was even more in demand in the 1770s and 1780s, recording the naval history of the War of American Independence. In 1768 Serres was a founder member of the Royal Academy and at the end of his life its librarian. A well respected and sociable man, he was appointed Marine Painter to George III in 1780.

Object Details

ID: BHC1920
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Serres, Dominic
Date made: 1772-1793; 1772-93
Exhibition: Art for the Nation; Macpherson Collection
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Macpherson Collection
Measurements: Painting: 915 mm x 1498 mm; Frame: 1090 mm x 1640 mm x 110 mm
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