Night Fire, 19th-Century Harbour Scene

Night Fire, 19th-Century Harbour Scene

An atmospheric 19th-century harbour scene depicting a working sailboat before a large coastal fire.

Along the shoreline, several silhouetted landmarks guide our eye towards a distant steamboat. Its smoke seems to echo the flames that rise from the nearby burning buildings.

It’s interesting that the artist has juxtaposed a traditional sailboat with a fierce industrial fire, as perhaps this is a commentary on urban industrialisation. It reminds us a little of JMW Turner’s ‘The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons’, in which he paints two almighty fires that dominate the night’s sky.

The painting is housed within a handsome gilded frame with coved sides and a beaded inner border. Signed illegibly in the lower left.

Oil on canvas
Size including frame
22½” x 18” / 57cm x 46cm
Year of creation
c. 1875
Canvas relined. Craquelure throughout but paint layer stable under varnish. Framed with age-related wear.