Said to be the Ark Royal, Lord Howard of Effingham's flagship, 1588. Allegedly after Sailmaker.
A very improbable attribution, but even if not by him it exemplifies the manner associated with him
and shows how primitivism retains vitality despite virtuosi and other detractors.
From a reproduction on a modern card.
Discovery of the print at right reduces the attribution to Sailmaker virtually to nil.
The Great Harry, drawn by Holbein, engraved in aquatint by Richard Reeve, etched by Cruickshank, 1834.
From Naval Prints, Frank T.Sabin, 1934-5.
ISAAC SAILMAKER: THREE
Since Sailmaker never signed his paintings, his work in oil tended to be confused over time with other painters, perhaps especially Jacob Knyff. Apart from Vertue's notice, however, the significant number of prints which credit his name probably provide a sufficiently authentic starting-point for an overall assessment. There will be many paintings ascribed to him on very flimsy evidence, however.
Said to be the Lion; 20 x 33½; exhibited Rutland Gallery, 1963, as reproduced in the gallery catalogue.
Picture attributed to Sailmaker. Source unrecorded
Rutland Gallery caption, 1963
Note: May 2015. A perceptive correspondent has drawn attention to points in connection with the two paintings, one large black and white and one small coloured, reproduced above. At first I thought that these were two different paintings, although the representations of the major ship were virtually identical; and that the yacht to the right of the smaller painting had been introduced in what might have been a later copy. If, however, these are two images of the same painting, it is extremely difficult to explain why the picture had been cropped at the right, in the Rutland Gallery catalogue reproduction. The measurements given in the catalogue also seem incorrect, and the caption seems to be completely fanciful.
As intimated by my correspondent, it is extremely unlikely that the Lion is being represented in this, or these, paintings, at any stage of its repeated incarnations. Unfortunately I seem to have failed to record where I found the smaller image. There also seems to be a very curious variation in the exact centre of the Union flag at the main.
The original for the print, below, of the Britannia ?
see Sailmaker's Britannia, here
The works of Sailmaker are a large, difficult and complicated subject of study, not least because of his exceptional longevity. I do not expect to make sense of it in a hurry, if ever. It takes half a lifetime to begin to understand these disgracefully neglected marine painters, who were once the very soul and spirit of the English nation. It is little wonder that Hogarth hated the smug connoisseurs so intensely. Pictures may be added here as I come across them, if they seem to be of interest.
35 ½ x 58. Unsigned; attributed to Sailmaker. Non-committedly titled the Royal Navy off the Coast, circa 1695.
Also identified as the Britannia, attributed to Sailmaker. See here.
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