The 'Ann' off Birkenhead
A portrait of the merchant ship 'Ann', flying the 1801 pattern red ensign, probably on her return from a voyage to the West Indies. The ship is shown in three positions, a common convention of ship portraiture, in port-broadside view in the foreground, in stern view on the left and bow view on the right. In the main view the figures on deck are preparing to lower the anchor. In the foreground on the right three figures have lowered the sails on their small fishing craft and the inclusion of such a boat was a typical motif adopted by the artist. In his work technical accuracy and careful delineation are informed by personal experience and intimate knowledge of the sea. This has led to the assumption that Salmon probably supplemented his income as an artist by working in shipping or related industry.
He was born in Whitehaven, Cumberland, where his family probably worked as mariners. He moved to London in the late 1790s and then to Liverpool in 1806. In 1828 he left England for Boston, Massachusetts, where he became a successful painter of marine views ranging from small panels and canvases to theatrical moving panorama scenes. He returned to Europe about 1840 and died between 1848 and 1851, though where is uncertain.
- Image reference: BHC3196
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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