How the Danes came up the Channel a Thousand Years Ago

How the Danes came up the Channel a Thousand Years Ago, 1890
Herbert Bone (1853-1931)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 00300
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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How the Danes came up the Channel a Thousand Years Ago

This painting shows a view off Peveril Ridge, Swanage, AD 877. The painting is an imaginative Victorian reconstruction based on an account in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of a naval battle between Alfred the Great and the Danish fleet of King Guthrum. The Danes were seeking to invade at Swanage but were foiled when their fleet of 120 ships was wrecked and sank off Peveril Ridge. Bone has created a lively view with the figures depicting ordinary people, old and young, male and female with whom the viewer could empathise. Bone has demonstrated how history could be made relevant to his time and appeal to a contemporary audience.

Herbert Bone was primarily a tapestry designer, who studied in Antwerp and was recommended by John Everett Millais to the Royal Tapestry Manufactory in Windsor. He was also a painter of genre scenes, flowers and literary subjects and worked as an illustrator for William Morris.

This painting was donated to the museum jointly by the artist and his daughter Margaret.

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