Joseph Heard was a ship portraitist born on 7 March, 1799 in Egremont near Whitehaven, Cumberland to Joseph and Ann Heard. His father was a sadler working out of 28 Church Street in Whitehaven where the family also lived. His brother Isaac Heard (1804-1869) also became an artist. Although little is known about his early life, both brothers would have undoubtedly received an artistic education. Some sources state he was tutored by the portrait painter John Clementson (1735-1805), however, given his dates and the fact that Clementson spent most of his life in London, this seems unlikely. It is more probable that he was influenced by the marine artist Robert Salmon (c1775-1845) who also lived in Whitehaven.
He began working as an artist in Whitehaven but moved to Liverpool in 1831, where he joined his local masonic lodge. He married Alice Wilson a widow on 15 December, 1832 at St Philip’s Church and together the couple lived in Norfolk Street. By 1840, they had moved to 109 Pitt Street where he shared a studio with his brother. In Liverpool he found a ready market amongst the ship owners of the busy trading port and enjoyed considerable success during his lifetime. His ship portraits were highly detailed and usually included Marryat’s Code of Signals, which gave the identity of the vessel. Many of his works depicted notable or dramatic events in a ship’s career.
Towards the end of his life he moved to 90 Pitt Street where he later died on 10 November, 1859. He was buried on 14 November, 1859 at St James Cemetery. Examples of his work are located in a number of public collections including the Beacon Museum, Helena Thompson Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, National Maritime Museum, National Trust, North Devon Maritime Museum, University of Liverpool, Victoria Gallery and the Walker Art Gallery.
The painting depicts two aspects of the Clipper James Ray together with a paddle steamer in choppy seas off Holyhead. The stern view of the ship can be seen to the left. The James Ray was a 232 ton ship built at Kelsick Wood, Maryport in Cumberland and launched on 9 March, 1833. The ship was owned by E Grayson Harrington of Whitehaven and commanded by Captain Grayson. The name of the ship can be seen on the bow of the ship and is also identified by the Marryat’s Code of hoisted flags (see image 7).
|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||26 inches x 35.75 inches (66cm x 91cm)|
|Framed Size||30.75 inches x 40.5 inches (78cm x 103cm)|