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The Maritime Paintings of John Chancellor
Regarded by many as one of the finest marine artists of the 20th century, Chancellor was born in Portugal in 1925. He always had an interest in the sea having sailed many differing vessels and navigated waters from Trinidad to the Medway and was firstly a sailor who later in life became a superb artist. He eventually settled with his family in Brixham, Devon in 1963 and spent 2 years trawling, which led to early works, when commissioned to paint trawler portraits by their skippers. Steadily he began to take his painting more seriously, encouraged by the great enthusiasm and guidance of Austin Hawkins, who had a gallery in the town and Chancellor began producing works that exhibited his huge potential as a serious professional artist. His paintings go beyond aesthetically pleasing, well-executed marine scenes; they are often definitive, historically accurate representations of actual events, completed in painstaking detail. His research would take him to museums, the hydrographic office and public records to ensure that every last detail is accurate. Sadly John's life was cut short on 9th April 1984, aged just 59, having painted professionally for only 13 years, during which time his complete output numbered fewer than 150 works. Only three exhibitions (in 1973, 1976 and 1981) were ever staged and all three were a sell out - the first with everything sold in less than an hour! An indication of his standing in art circles was confirmed when an original artwork sold by Bonhams in 2008 for £38,400!
This finely illustrated book dates to 1984, but Chancellor sadly died shortly after proof checking, so he never lived to see his work published. The book contains 19 sumptuous paintings, portraying sailing ships and the sea in all its moods. They are accompanied by text, sketches and enlarged details which highlight Chancellor's workmanship. This hardback copy appears to be first edition dated 1984 and its original published price was £40 and is complete with dust jacket that a previous owner has covered for added protection. The image on the front depicts HMS Beagle in the Galapagos, whilst the back cover shows some amazing detail from the same painting. 80 pages in total are filled with informative text, full colour paintings, sketches and enlarged details which highlight Chancellor's workmanship. This is very much a coffee table sized book at 14.5" x 11.5" (37 cm x 29 cm) Whilst clearly second hand it remains in really excellent condition and on offer 36 years later at a significant discount on the published price!