Whalers in the Arctic - Unknown artist (after or attributed to James H. Wheldon) (c.1857s)
oil on canvas, 60 x 90cm
KINCM:2007.2300, Hull Maritime Museum

This canvas evidently draw on James H. Wheldon’s Diana in its depiction of the central ship, in a port side view, with whale  boats immediately to the lower right, accessorised with a second view sailing in a lost stern view towards the horizon, on the right, and a third view this time sailing not directly into the scene, but in a more straightforward, again port view at a distance.  There is less of a breeze in this variant, with the ships’ flags hanging more limply down, and the overall colour tonality is different, with the painter here adopting a more harmonious and limited palette of creams and greens, compared to the more contrasting and saturated bottle green, white, and mauve palette of the 1857 Diana. As such, we might think about the Diana of 1857 responding to a Pre-Raphaelite intensity of colour, whereas the Whalers in the Arctic experiments with a quiet, Aestheticist palette. But the oddly flat form of the whale in the foreground seems like Wheldon, and particularly familiar from Wheldon are the side ice floes with their stalctites at the profiles.

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Credit: Images are courtesy of the Hull Maritime Museum