The Fleet Off the Coast, Beachy Head

The Fleet Off the Coast, Beachy Head

c. 1790-1805

Samuel Atkins

(British, 1760-1810)

Watercolor with graphite underdrawing

Sheet: 34.4 x 48.4 cm (13 9/16 x 19 1/16 in.)

Gift of Lowell Libson in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred M. Rankin, Jr. 2011.411

Description

The breathtaking headlands of Beachy Head, the highest, most dramatic chalk sea cliffs in the United Kingdom, are depicted in this watercolor. A marine painter active during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Atkins patriotically associated Britain’s identity with its coastal geography and famous navy. A fleet of sailing vessels is depicted offshore in full sail, suggesting a rare moment of the entire fleet’s departure.

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