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Montague Dawson   Click Images to Enlarge


(British 1895 - 1973)

Montague Dawson was born in Chiswick, London, England (1895) and lived with his parents in Smuggler's House on Southampton Water, close to ships and the water. Although his father and grandfather were marine painters, he was basically self-taught. He never went to art school because he had a natural ability to draw and paint and by the age of 15 he was a member of an art studio group in Bedford Row, London, where he worked on posters and illustrations to earn a living.

Dawson joined the Royal Navy to serve in World War I as a naval officer in Falmouth. During his service with the Navy, he met Charles Napier Hemy, who had a powerful influence on his work. He also produced black and white monochrome illustrations for the Sphere during WWI and after the war set up a studio as an illustrator of historical subjects and deep-water sailing vessels at high sea. By 1935, Frost and Reed (London) dubbed Montague Dawson “the King of the Clipper Ship School,” and his reputation as a ship-marine painter spread internationally. Living by the sea after 1930 at Milford-on-Sea in Hampshire, England, Dawson exhibited occasionally at the Royal Academy (1917-1936). By World War II, he was famous and his illustrations of the war for the Sphere were published as fast as he could finish them.

Between 1946-1964, Dawson exhibited marine subjects at the Society of Marine Artists and was elected a member. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Near the end of his life, it was rumored Dawson was the highest paid painter in the world, second only to Pablo Picasso. Commercial sailing of clipper ships, yachts and Men of War was his forte. Each ship was painted in an open sea and with enough detailing to be identified and by the time he died he was England's most famous marine painter.

Dawson is famous for his marine paintings that show a clipper ship in high seas with a slight breeze puffing up sails, for capturing the magnificence of light and the volume and character of waves that are white capped and moving. His work is represented in many major museum and corporate collections.

Dawson's work is represented in hundreds of American and European museums.