John Everett painted and drew hundreds of sketches of the sea in oils, pastel and pencil. In this interpretation the artist has concentrated on the quality of the movement of the waves and reduced it to a rhythmic form. The waves are presented in sculpted layers enforcing the sensation of movement. Their features are similar, so that there is the impression of continuity and relentlessness to their action.

Although the waves are presented blue, there is considerable variation of tone within the work, and this brilliance of the colour contrasts with the white foam that rises vertically in a rhythm, reaching a crescendo on the far right. The foam on the surface of the wave in the foreground has created a honeycombed effect on the surface of the water. The wave behind is alternately honeycombed or streaked with white lines. The artist has demonstrated a strong emphasis on the significance of form, which hovers on abstraction. The presence of seagulls on the far right returns this to a representational work.

Trained at the Slade, and friends with Augustus John and William Orpen, Everett went to sea in 1898 as a seaman. This painting serves to bring together the two interests of his life, the sea, and the desire to paint it. Everett did not sell his marine work during his lifetime but bequeathed all of it to the National Maritime Museum, London. It consists of oil paintings and a large number of drawings and engravings. He was a practical deep-water sailor, understood his subject and his work manifests the knowledge gleaned from living on board. He was also a fine draughtsman and saw sails, ropes and deck fittings in terms of rhythmic patterns. This enabled him to produce powerful and vigorous compositions.

Object Details

ID: BHC4132
Collection: Fine art
Type: Painting
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Everett, (Herbert Barnard) John
Date made: Late 19th century - mid 20th century; unknown
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Bequeathed by the artist 1949.
Measurements: Painting: 693 mm x 1082 mm; Frame: 824 x 1215 x 63 mm

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