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Clarkson Stanfield RA (1793-1867)

Clarkson Stanfield, RA (1793-1867)

The most successful British marine painter of his age, Clarkson Stanfield drew directly on his own wide experience of the sea.

Clarkson Stanfield was born in Sunderland on 3 December 1793, the son of the Irish actor and anti-slavery writer James Field Stanfield. In 1805, at the age of twelve, he was apprenticed to an heraldic painter in Edinburgh, but three years later became a merchant seaman, at work on a collier. In 1812, he was pressed into the Royal Navy, and spent two years on HMS Namur, the guard-ship at Sheerness. Following his discharge as the result of an injury, he again joined the merchant navy, and sailed to China, in 1815, in the East Indiaman Warley. On his return in 1816, he missed his ship and, taking the advice of the novelist Captain Frederick Marryat, turned to art.

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