Samuel Atkins – “An Arm’d Merchant Frigate”


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Indian ink and watercolours on paper laid onto board. Signed Atkins (lower left). A short description of the boat together with some information on the artist is inscribed in pencil on the back of the painting, which has been copied on the back of the frame. There are some scuff marks on the upper edge and what looks to be a clean tear (lower right).

Watercolour: 11.6 x 16.8 cm.
Frame: 17.9 x 23 cm.



“An Arm’d Merchant Frigate” (acquired by Alexander Luders, late in 18th-century). The painter of this picture was Samuel Atkins, who excelled in marine subjects, both in oils and watercolours. He exhibited in the RA from 1787 to 1796, in which year he went to the E Indies – on his return in 1804 he exhibited again till 1808 – after which year he died (Redgraves Dictionary of English Artists). It was he noted that only three colours have been used in this picture, Indian ink, Prussian Blue (or Indigo) and Light Red.


Atkins, Samuel (fl. 1787-1808)

Atkins contributed to the Royal Academy between 1787 and 1796. From 1796 to 1804 he was in the East Indies, when he returned to England, and continued to exhibit until 1808. He worked in oil and water-colour. The water-colour collections of South Kensington and the British Museum have each an example of his work. It is rather early in manner, low in tone, quiet, and truthful. A picture of ‘Shakespeare's Cliff, Dover,’ has been engraved after him by R. and D. Havell. Nagler attributes to this Samuel Atkins the originals of two engravings of sea-subjects after ‘— Atkins:’ ‘Ships in Sight of Harbour,’ engraved in aquatint by H. Merke; and ‘A Sea Piece,’ by F. Janinet. A water-colour drawing also, ‘Seascape with Ships,’ he gives to this painter.