Charles Frederick Williams (Attributed)

At The Beach Off The Isle Of Wight

Charles Frederick Williams (Attributed)

At The Beach Off The Isle Of Wight

This mid-19th-century oil painting by British artist Charles Frederick Williams (1810-1894) depicts a windswept coastal scene off the Isle of Wight.

During a rousing speech at the Exeter Literary Society in 1847, Williams expressed his firm belief that art, particularly drawing, should be for everyone - and, regardless of occupation, anyone can gain from it. His views echoed the sentiments of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. Appreciating that art should be considered as more than simply an aesthetic pursuit as, when combined with a day’s labour, it enriches the soul.

Rarely was drawing considered as such as most felt it should be either left to the professionals or kept within amateur sketchbooks. But Williams lauded inclusivity and urged those within any relevant occupation to study and improve their draughtsmanship. From builders and tailors to soldiers and embroiders.

In this turbulent work from around 1860, Williams’ vigorous spirit is expressed amid the rough waves of the Solent. Two boats are battered by gales as the swash crashes over the beach. Several gulls weave.

Undeterred by the blustery conditions, this irrepressible artist stood on the spot and painted. Spray flying, sand spinning past his brush. We know this as several small pieces of driftwood are painted into the surface of the canvas. Left by Williams as a memento.

Held within a 19th-century gilt frame.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 21½” x 14½” / 55cm x 37cm
Year of creation: c. 1860
Labels & Inscriptions: Exhibition/gallery label on reverse.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Straw/wood embedded into paint surface. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £1,747

Charles Frederick Williams

Charles Frederick Williams trained under David Cox and exhibited at the Royal Academy. His works are held in numerous public collections including at the Southampton City Art Gallery.

Learn more about Charles Frederick Williams in our directory.

Conservation & History

We care profoundly about our role as custodians and every piece in the collection has been assessed by our conservator. When required, we undertake professional restoration carefully using reversible techniques and adopt a light touch to retain the aged charm of each work. We also restore frames rather than replace them as many are original and selected by the artists themselves.

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