Henry Thomas Dawson

British, (1841-1918)
Guardship Firing a Salute
Oil on canvas, signed & dated 1883

A fine seascape painting by Henry Thomas Dawson of a naval guardship firing a salute to another ship entering a coastal harbour. To the left of the foreground can be seen a rowing boat transporting a group of uniformed naval officers and sailors on their way out towards the ship. Naval gun salutes were a term of honour towards high-ranking people and the number fired corresponded to the rank. Always fired at sea, the saluting ship would turn her bow towards the ship being saluted, showing that there was no danger from her.

Henry Thomas Dawson was born in Nottingham in 1841 the son of the artist Henry Dawson (1811-1878) and his wife Elizabeth Whittle. His brother Alfred Dawson (1844) was also an artist and his other brother Charles was an inventor and the father of Montague Dawson (1890-1973). He lived with his family at Mansfield Road Nottingham until 1845 when they moved to Liverpool. They stayed there until 1849, when his father relocated to Croydon in Surrey living at Middle Heath Lane.

Although little is known about his early education, both Henry and his brother Alfred would have undoubtedly received tuition from their father, who was largely self-taught. By 1861, the family had moved to Thorpe in Surrey where Dawson established himself as an artist. As well as being an artist, he also studied engineering like his brother Charles and became an inventor.

He began exhibiting at the British Institution from 1860 and made his debut at the Royal Academy in 1866. He exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists from 1868 and became a member of the organisation in 1872. Dawson spent his time painting shipping off the south coast of England, especially Kent and also visited Wales. He is also known to have travelled abroad to Holland where he painted views of Rotterdam.

From around 1863, he lived with his family at The Cedars, Burlington Lane in Chiswick, from where both he and his father exhibited from. He married Elizabeth Dearle in 1876 at Camberwell. Together they lived in his father's house in Chiswick, which he took over after his death in 1878. Later in life, he helped set up a motor engineer and repair works with his son Henry Alfred Dawson in Canterbury. Dawson died at Canterbury on 14 February 1918 and was buried at Canterbury City Cemetery.

Examples of his paintings can be found in a number of museums and public art galleries including Leicester Town Hall, Richmond Town Council, Royal Holloway, University of London and the York Museum.

Benton Fine Art

Presentation The painting is housed in a new, English made gilt frame which is in excellent condition.
Condition As with all of our original antique oil paintings, this work is offered in ready to hang gallery condition, having been professionally cleaned, restored and revarnished.
Image Size 17.5 inches x 23.5 inches (44.5cm x 60cm)
Framed Size 24.25 inches x 30.25 inches (61.5cm x 77cm)