Dominic Serres (British, 1722-1793) 'View of Lundy Island' 153.6 x 247cm. (60 1/2 x 97 1/4in.)

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Lot 65*
Dominic Serres
(British, 1722-1793)
'View of Lundy Island' 153.6 x 247cm. (60 1/2 x 97 1/4in.)

Sold for £ 60,000 (US$ 73,111) inc. premium
Dominic Serres (British, 1722-1793)
'View of Lundy Island'
signed 'D.Serres', dated 1776 and indistinctly inscribed (lower left)
oil on canvas
153.6 x 247cm. (60 1/2 x 97 1/4in.)
carved frame


  • Provenance:- Sir John Borlase Warren.
    - by descent to his grandson, the Rev. Hudson G. Heaven.
    - purchased by D.A.Thomas, Esq. and presented to the Cardiff Exchange, 1912.
    - sold October 1967, bought by a Mr. Davies.
    - Leggatt Brothers, 1970 (catalogue number 38).
    - Dr. D.M. McDonald, Hammer Hill, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England, who gifted it to the Bermuda Maritime Museum, August 1977.
    - Bermuda Maritime Museum (Accession number 77:59).
    - Christies, New York, 'Important Paintings by Old Masters, Wednesday 6th. June, 1984, lot 131, sold $60,000.
    - The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Laguna Niguel, California.

    Alan Russett has a photocopy of what would appear to be Leggatt Brothers' catalogue entry for their 1970 'An exhibition of paintings from the collection of Dr. D.M. McDonald' where this lot is no. 38 , 'A view of Lundy Island' measuring 60 x 97in.

    Literature :- 'Dominic Serres', Alan Russett, Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, 2001, pp.103-106 and illustrated colour plate 42, page 106. Although it is listed as measuring 29 x 45in., Alan Russett now believes the dimensions he was given for the two pictures in his book were incorrect and that our pictures are the originals painted for Sir John Borlase Warren.

    Despite its curiously bland title, apparently Serres’s own, this positively animated scene shows Sir John Borlase Warren, Bart., being rowed ashore from his yacht to take possession of the island of Lundy which he had recently purchased (the actual landing depicted is on the eastern side of the island). Although the precise date of the visit is unrecorded, it took place within a very narrow time frame, sometime after Sir John assumed his title in June 1775 and before the Royal Academy’s Exhibition the following year for which the work’s companion [see following lot] was entered.

    Warren, born in 1753, inherited his wealth and title as the result of the premature deaths of his elder brothers when his early prospects had seemed poor. Educated at Cambridge, his name was 'entered on the books' of H.M.S. 'Marlborough from 1771-4 even though he saw little service until 1777 when, thanks to the outbreak of the American War of Independence, he began to pursue his naval career in earnest. Promoted Lieutenant in 1778, he was made post-Captain in 1781 and although placed on half-pay in 1783, he was appointed to a new command as soon as the war with Revolutionary France began in 1793. His exploits during the French Wars were varied to say the least and he was responsible for defeating several enemy squadrons during numerous operations. In 1796, he was ordered to direct his attention to the enemy’s coastal trade and during that year destroyed or captured no fewer than 220 vessels, 37 of which were armed. In October 1798 he had command of the fleet which intercepted and defeated the French invasion force off Ireland for which success he was promoted Rear-Admiral. Other promotions followed as the War entered the new century and his final appointment was as C. in C., North American Station, in 1813. Nominated a G.C.B. in 1815, the Admiral died at Greenwich in 1822.

    An interesting article appeared in the 'Maritime Yearbook', Nov. 1997 by E. H. H. (Teddy) Archibald in which he wrote about his acquisitions for the National Maritime Museum during the years he was curator of oil paintings (1952-84). Relating how he purchased 'H.M.S. 'Condor' at the Bombardment of Alexandria, 11th. July 1882' by William Lionel Wyllie (BHC 0643) and 'H.M.S.'Cardiff' leading the surrendered German Fleet, 18 November 1918' (BHC 0670), he wrote 'In 1968, this splendid early Wyllie was one of five big marines sold off by the Cardiff Coal Exchange and bought by a small-time jobbing dealer there called Davies. He didn't even have a shop but had managed, with difficulty, to get them into his little back-street house. He knew that he could easily place the three others by Serres and Carmichael. But the big Wyllie and even bigger Charles Dixon (62 x 130in.), which he had upside down on his staircase, were another matter. But they were the ones I wanted. I said 'what about £500 for the two ?' He was wreathed in smiles'.

    We would like to thank Alan Russett and Jane Dowling, Collections Manager, Bermuda Maritime Museum for their help in cataloguing this lot.
Dominic Serres (British, 1722-1793) 'View of Lundy Island' 153.6 x 247cm. (60 1/2 x 97 1/4in.)
Dominic Serres (British, 1722-1793) 'View of Lundy Island' 153.6 x 247cm. (60 1/2 x 97 1/4in.)
Dominic Serres (British, 1722-1793) 'View of Lundy Island' 153.6 x 247cm. (60 1/2 x 97 1/4in.)
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