Rising Tide – Coast of Scilly

Rising Tide - Coast of Scilly, 1885
David James (1860-1913)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 01147
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum


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Rising Tide – Coast of Scilly

The Victorian art critic, John Ruskin, believed that artists should work direct from nature to record precise details and reveal the beauty of God’s creation. This work is filled with minutely observed details including the mossy rocks, spray from the crashing waves and gusting winds. The low viewpoint of this scene makes it appear as though the viewer is about to be engulfed by the incoming wave.

David James was a pseudonym for the artist, Joseph Donahue. At a young age, his creative talent was recognised by a German-born picture dealer who supported his training. James specialised in studies of the sea, in particular waves, rather than coastal views. Many of his works were painted on location in Cornwall. For many Victorian marine artists, Cornwall was a popular destination due to its easy access by train.


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