Clarkson Frederick Stanfield
Antique Prints

Since 1763 the name 'Russborough' has been synonymous with collecting and dealing in fine art. In the closing decades of the last century the historic town of Port Hope has become home to Lord Russborough's Annex, which specialises in an individual mix of antique maps, paintings and prints.

STANFIELD, Frederick Clarkson.

Painting currently available:

Inshore fishery



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1793 - 1867


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Clarkson Frederick STANFIELD

Inshore fishery close hauled near a pier

Second half of the nineteenth century

Oils on relined canvas, Period giltwood frame. 24 x 42" (61 x 116.7 cm.)
Frame 311/2 x 49"

Ref. 254 RI.385/GANN/v.anne >DLNNN

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No less than twenty vessels, including Brigs with topgallants set, may be seen together with, a low land form (possibly 'The Nore') along the horizon of this action filled painting the location probably being the Mouth of the Thames. But it is the events in the middle and foreground that lend life, action and spontaneity to the canvas.

To the right, two inshore fishing vessels (sloop and cutter rigged) their crews straining with the rigging against the stiff breeze; as does a lone oarsman in a Dinghy making slow headway in the choppy sea. In the slightly calmer water, protected by the pier, are a pair of fishing Yawls. Five fishermen go about their time honoured business, tending their nets (one of which is strung aloft), or taking in sail. One, who appears to be stringing fish for drying along a centre line, converses with his mate who is tending a dinghy which is tethered to both boats.

Seven other figures, both male & female, are seen upon the central, braced timber, pier; its massive timbers offset to reduce wave action. A warning bell, shelter hut and signal mast, may be seen. Along with good marine and other equipment detail, such as a glazed jug & fish baskets; all are painted in Clarkson Stanfield’s straightforward style and combine with a flock of gulls against a cloud filled sky to create a fine atmospheric and detailed view of an inshore fishing and pier scene.



Clarkson Frederick Stanfield RA.

Born: Sunderland, December 3 1793.
Died: Hampstead, May 18 1867.
Son of the abolitionist, actor & author James Field Stanfield.

At 15 he entered the merchant navy but was ‘pressed’ into the Royal Navy in 1812 under the alias ‘Roderick Bland’. Discharged, following a rigging accident, which left him lame, he sailed on a merchant ship to China in 1815. Upon return and being unable to find work, he took up theatre scenery painting in London & Edinburgh; whilst in the latter city he formed a life long friendship with David Roberts who was similarly employed at that time.

In London he met the 24 year old, Charles Dickens, whilst creating scenery for his private theatricals at Tavistock House, they also formed an enduring friendship. Indeed, Dickens was one of Stanfield’s last visitors on the day of his death.

His first wife, Mary, gave him two children and following her death in 1821 his second, Rebecca, gave him 10. Their second son George Clarkson Stanfield (1828-1878) also became a successful painter.

Graduating from scenery painting, Clarkson Stanfield concentrated on marine, coastal and river subjects of which he had much first hand experience, having filled numerous sketchbooks whilst on board ship.

By 1820 he was being recognized as a painter having great promise. he later became known as ‘the English Van De Velde’. He was a founding member of Society of British Artists - Suffolk Street (1823) becoming its President in 1829, the same year he began to exhibit in the Royal Academy.

He was elected an Associate in 1832, and RA. member 1835, he continued to exhibit there and the British Institute until 1867. He was commissioned by King William IV to paint the Opening of the New London Bridge (1831), Portsmouth Harbour and the Battle of Trafalgar (1863) the latter still in the possession of the United Services Club Pall Mall, also HMS. Victory with the Body of Nelson on Board being towed into Gibraltar (1805) are among his best known works, many of which were engraved.

In later life he was known as a slightly portly, jolly man who lived and loved life to the full, despite the pain to his foot resulting from the accident with an anchor. He was considered a good humoured listener and excellent company, provided the subject of religion was avoided. The sudden death of David Roberts affected him greatly and brought sadness to his closing years whence he remained secluded but busy.


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