Thomas Leemans (fl. ca. 1720-1740), attributed to The Morning Gun Oil on canvas
Thomas Leemans (fl. ca. 1720-1740), attributed to
The Morning Gun
Oil on canvas
Canvas size: 19 ¼" x 44"; Framed size: 26 ½" x 52 ½"
In Thomas Leemans's painting, The Morning Gun, the ships of a British fleet glide through the calm waters of the Thames estuary. Sailors swarm across the deck of the warship as it prepares to make sail, and, to the left of the ship's bow, a barge sits waiting to escort visitors away from the scene's action. A small boat to the right of the warship carries sailors who struggle to raise anchor. The presence of a royal yacht at the right of the scene suggests that this scene depicts an official event.
Thomas Leemans is the most enigmatic of the artists influenced by Willem van de Velde the Younger. He is of the generation of Peter Monamy. Little is known of his life, although it is speculated that he may have been one of Monamy's assistants for a short period.
This is a typical example of his work, all of which are characterized by a number of re-occurring elements. His compositions usually have a finished, glassy quality and always show a calm sea with a large man-o'-war, seen from the stern, with a vast spread of drooping sail. The stern of the ship is considerably wider than it should be and the magnificent carving and gilding are highlighted to make them stand out of the picture. Moreover, the masts and sails are much too large for the ship. The loose brushwork indicates that Leemans intended for his works to be viewed from afar rather than close up.