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Peel Castle and Pier Head

Date made: 1881

Artist: Nicholson, John Miller

Description: John Miller Nicholson’s painting of 1881 captures Peel harbour-mouth at a time of change. In the background, the old timber breakwater designed by Lord Abernethy is visible is in its original form as completed in 1865, whilst Peel Castle appears to have undergone some of the major repairs that were begun during the 1870s. By that date, however, the timber breakwater was being encased in stone, so this painting certainly can’t have been painted from life in 1881.

It seems that Nicholson was intending to illustrate something that he remembered from the past, probably by combining field sketches, drawings and old photographs. He has also altered the proportions of the cathedral, and given the composition greater impact by raising the height of the castle walls and the lighthouse on the right. The Manx fishing fleet can be seen creating a 'forest of masts’ in the harbour. This impressionistic style became common amongst artists in the mid-to-late 19th century, with the artist choosing to omit or enhance aspects of the scene.

Measurements: unframed artwork: 28 cm x 49 cm

Materials: oil on canvas

Object name: painting

Collection: Art Collection

ID number: 1980-0084

Subject tags : #artgalleryplace


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