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Attrib. Charles Robertson, RA, RWS (1844-1891) - 1867 Watercolour, Ships at Sea



A fine late 19th century watercolour study attributed to Charles Robertson (1844-1891), in which Robertson depicts a quintessential English seascape. The boat and it's crew struggle with the choppy waves as they aim for the calmer waters in the distance, and a fragment of wood protrudes from the water to the lower right; possibly a shipwreck or a warning for the sailors. Robertson painted a handful of views around the South coast of England, including Dartmouth, Alum Bay and North Devon.

Charles Robertson was a painter of landscapes and genre scenes, both in oil and watercolour, and also an engraver. He began by studying art in London and in the early 1860’s left to travel Europe and the Middle East. He is best known for his watercolours of the Middle East, which are richly detailed and vibrant. Robertson’s paintings can be seen in the Walker Art Gallery and in the National Gallery, Sydney; while the National Trust holds another pleasant seascape from Robertson entitled 'Shipping off Bayard's Cove, Dartmouth'.

We have attributed the watercolour to Robertson due to the monogram in the lower right corner, which is almost identical to the one which appears in the Dealer Guide 'Victorian Painters' Monograms', published by W. Foulsham & Co. Ltd. The subject matter is also similar to other known works by Robertson. The watercolour is well presented in a washline mount and modern gilt frame.

Monogrammed and Dated. On wove.


The condition is typical for a picture of this age including some discolouration and areas of very minor foxing. Overall the condition is very good. The frame has a few minor marks to the corners, however these are very minimal.


14.5 x 24.3cm (5.7" x 9.6")
Framed Size: 31.5 x 39.8cm (12.4" x 15.7")

Artist Biography

Born in England in 1844 Charles Robertson began his artistic career by studying art in London and in the early 1860’s he left for Aix-en-Provence in France. After spending a short time in France honing his style and technique, Robertson embarked on a tour of Algeria in 1862. In 1863 he exhibited his first painting at The Royal Academy entitled ‘Bouggasik'. Although a talented painter in oils and engraver from 1884 he worked only in watercolours, and he mastered this difficult medium so quickly that he was elected a member of the Royal Watercolour Society during the 1870's. He was also Vice President of the Royal Society of Painters & Etchers. Robertson exhibited his work at the Royal Academy from 1863 – 1865, Suffolk Street, The Old Watercolour Society, and The New Watercolour Society. Robertson lived in Godalming, Surrey for the latter part of his life and died on 19th November 1891.

More Information
Code kj485
Artist Attrib. Charles Robertson, RA, RWS (1844-1891)
Date 1867
Dimensions 14.5 x 24.3cm
Framed Yes
Medium Watercolour
Style Realism
Subject Seascape & Coastal
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