Yarmouth Roads - Coast of Norfolk, ca. 1806?
Attributed to Thomas Rowlandson (1757 - 1827)
RA Collection: Art
The etching shows a view of a choppy sea and dark storm clouds with a small boat in the foreground and a larger ship in the distance. There are figures standing on land in the bottom left corner, one of whom is waving his hat to the sailors in the boat.
The etching was attributed to Thomas Rowlandson when it entered the Royal Academy collection in the bequest of Carel Weight RA. However, it is not signed by Rowlandson and the title of the work is not commonly associated with his name. It is probable that when Weight bought the work it was attributed to Rowlandson, although it is not listed in the card index for the bequest.
The type of paper, lettering of the title and subject matter all suggest that it was part of the same series as Perry's Dock, Blackwall (03/2284), published by Rudolph Ackermann, which is signed and dated 1806 by Rowlandson. Both of these etchings were owned by Weight, who may have bought them as a set. The sheet has been trimmed so any other possible details about where it is from are lost.
The style of drawing the figures and boats and the handling of the etching and watercolouring are very similar in both this work and Perry's Dock, Blackwall, so it is likely that this work is also by Rowlandson but just has not been generally associated with him as it is not signed.
Yarmouth Roads is the name of a stretch of sea off the coast of Norfolk. In Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), the eponymous hero narrates:
'The sixth Day of our being at Sea we came into Yarmouth Roads; the Wind having been contrary, and the Weather calm, we had made but little Way since the Storm. Here we were obliged to come to an Anchor, and here we lay, the Wind continuing contrary, viz. at South-west, for seven or eight Days, during which time a great many Ships from Newcastle came into the same Roads, as the common Harbour where the Ships might wait for a Wind for the River.'
Following this, a violent storm gathers and Crusoe's ship is almost wrecked. It is possible that the artist or the publisher may have been thinking of this episode when the work was made or when it was given its title.
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