Joseph Dean - Unknown Artist (c.1844)
Oil painting
KINCM:1949.12, Hull Maritime Museum

This anonymous portrait depicts whaling captain Joseph Dean, who had travelled to the Arctic on the whale ships, the Sisters, the Duncombe, and the Riby Grove, between 1835 and 1839. He is depicted in lost profile around 1844, and so around the time Turner became interested in the whaling trade.  The year before the portrait, Dean had been the captain of the Hull whalers, the Constantia (1843), and he would go on to captain the Duncombe, and Anne (1844-7), on whose 1847 voyage he died in Greenland. His body was returned to Hull, and buried in St James’s Churchyard.

Seated comfortably in a red chair, wearing a starched white shirt, and black coat, Dean is every inch the gentleman, complete with hair fashionably curled up in front of his ears. He holds a scroll in his left hand, to signify further his gentlemanly learning and status. Concerned with the bigger picture, rather than with matters of local trade, he looks across the viewer’s right shoulder into the middle distance. His unblemished skin shows no signs of Arctic wear and tear.

help icon

Credit: Images are courtesy of the Hull Maritime Museum