Sir Samuel Standidge - Unknown Artist (date unknown)

KINCM:2016.116, Hull Maritime Museum

The anonymous portrait of whaling captain, Sir Samuel Standidge (1725-1801), probably dates from around 1795, given the appearance of a similar miniature portrait in the collections of the Ferens Museum. Standidge is depicted in naval gear, wearing a white cravat, and bewigged, to suggest his gentlemanly status. He is seated in front of a marine scene, whose vessel is most likely a whaler, perhaps the British Queen, since Standidge was known to have sailed upon her in 1767. The presence of the curtain, between Standidge and the boat, makes it difficult to tell whether the painter meant to depict a view through the window of the captain’s cabin on the stern gallery, or a still to be fully and theatrically unveiled marine painting within this marine portrait, perhaps suggesting, to potential whaling patrons, his credentials in both of these genres. Standidge certainly owned a number of whaling–themed marine paintings, as we see elsewhere in the collection. That viewers find it difficult to ascertain if they are seeing a view through a window or a marine painting may also be significant, since it emphasises a realism much prized by patrons of marine painting.

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Credit: Images are courtesy of the Hull Maritime Museum