Hartland Overfalls signed 'John Chancellor' (lower right) oil on canvas 59 x 86.3cm. (23 1/4 x 34in.)
Literature : Rita Chancellor and Austin Hawkins, 'John Chancellor's Classic Maritime Paintings', David and Charles, 1989, illustrated in colour pp.78 and 79.
E.H.H. Archibald, 'The Dictionary of Sea Painters', Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, 2000, page 137 and plates 805 and 806.
John Chancellor was born to English parents in the Lisbon area of Portugal in 1925. At seventeen he joined the Merchant Navy and was twice torpedoed. After the war he worked for a tug and barge firm and skippered a number of coastal craft. In 1963 he moved to Brixham, Devon, started painting in 1970 and two years later, he decided to give up the sea to become a professional artist. He specialised in scenes of historic sail, well- researched and in a very finished style. In 1973 his first one-man show of oils sold out in forty five and his next in 1976 also sold out. His exhibition of watercolours in 1981 sold out in ten minutes. He lived in Brixham, South Devon and his book 'The Maritime Paintings of John Chancellor' was published posthumously in July 1984. Due to his very short painting career, it is believed his output totalled fewer than 70 oil paintings and such is the popularity of his work that only a handful of works have ever gone through auction.
'Hartland Overfalls' was John Chancellor's last painting, completed just before his death in April 1984. It was kept by his widow and only upon her death in February 2008, has it come to the market.
In his private diary, he wrote on the 5th. December 1983, 'I am painting the 'Result' on my best sea ever'.
In his 'Paintings Register', Chancellor wrote the following entry (no. 68) about this painting :- 'A summer's morning, one and a half miles off Hartland Point. Wind SSW 5. Tops'l schooner 'Result' close hauled port tack, heading W by S. Typical Bristol Channel SW ground swell aggravated by a combination of the breeze and the overfalls of half ebb, spring tides. On the left of the picture a typical Appledore ketch, deep loaded, has driven over the ebb and will shortly bring up in quiet water under the land, where she will wait for about six hours before taking Bideford bar on the next tide'.
John Chancellor's great friend and neighbour, Anthony Rae, who had been on the crew of the 'Result' and had discussed her with Chancellor on several occasions. He writes:- 'My guess would be that John had envisaged a dawn sailing from Ilfracombe (which was certainly a port to which the 'Result' was well accostomed), with a southern Irish destination, or possibly even the south Cornish coast, either of which would be a reason to stay close to Hartland in order to gain advantage from the remaining ebb.
Hartland Point is situated on the North Devon coast at the western end of Bideford Bay. Known to the Romans as the Promontory of Hercules because of its height, its magnificent cliffs rise 325 feet into the sky and its headland can be seen at its awe-inspiring best when pounded by gale-lashed waves sweeping up the Bristol Channel. Although Chancellor has chosen not to paint this particular scene in a full gale, he has nevertheless been able to encapsulate perfectly the sheer power of the sea as the sturdy little Result, a trim three-masted topsail trading schooner, battles against the rolling Atlantic swell as she doggedly makes way down-channel to the open sea.
There are no Artists Resale Rights on this picture.