Montague Dawson (1895-1973)

Montague Dawson (1895-1973)

Montague Dawson was the grandson of British illustrator Henry Dawson and nephew of landscape painter Henry Dawson. With this artistic family, it is not surprising that Montague Dawson began his own paintings and drawings at a young age and was employed as an illustrator by the age of fifteen. The young Dawson would not go on to study art academically, however, but instead learned from the edifying company of revered marine painter Charles Napier Hemy, R.A. Like his mentor, Dawson became a member of the Royal Academy as well as of the Society of Marine Artists.

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As a naval officer, Dawson captured battle scenes in oil and watercolor during both World War I and World War II, and published many of these works as illustrations for the Sphere. Whether painting a single ship on the open sea or a dramatic mêlée between vessels, Dawson’s work was characterized by his dynamic depictions of moving water and his fastidious representation of the ship’s anatomy.  The immense popularity of his works resulted in their reproduction en masse as engravings, and by his death, Dawson was acclaimed as one of England’s most famous marine painters. This reputation extended throughout much of Europe and the United States, and today his works can be found locally at the Mystic Seaport Museum of Connecticut, and in the collections of the National Gallery of London and the National Maritime Museum of Greenwich.

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