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Liverpool from the Wallasey Foreshore

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Origin Scotland
Period 1800-1900
Materials Oil on Panel Mounted on Cradle Stretcher
Dimensions
W. 37.25 in; H. 22.5 in;
W. 94.62 cm; H. 57.15 cm;
Condition Good. In excellent conserved condition
Creation Date Circa 1820
Description In a view from the Wirral Peninsula, Robert Salmon offers a scene of maritime activity along the Wallasey Foreshore with a highly detailed view of the city and harbor of Liverpool from across the Mersey River.

In the foreground, a merchant ship and a small brig are careened on even keel for some low-tide maintenance below the waterline and both vessels have their sails slack for drying. A workboat alongside the center vessel has a crew working on the ship’s exposed underwater surfaces. The trademark luminism seen in Salmon’s best works is on display here, rendering a late afternoon sun outlining the clouds and illuminating the sails, adding a golden glow to the entire painting.

To the left, another ship is proceeding downriver under full sail in mid-channel. Numerous small sailing craft are in evidence along the Liverpool waterfront and a small yawl–rigged ferry is landing at the mouth of one of the Wirral Pools in the right middle ground. Two of Salmon’s ever present small rowing boats are seen to the left of the painting, one coming ashore just astern of the central vessel, and one in mid-stream between the shore and the outward bound ship.

Salmon has portrayed the Liverpool shore from its northern boundary with his usual attention to detail, with several principal landmarks in view. Just astern of the vessel underway in the channel, the Bootle Chimney emits a column of smoke next to Seaforth Church. The dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral is visible through the primary vessel’s brailed up spanker with the town hall dome shown between the main and mizzen masts. The spire of St. George’s Church is seen between the fore and main masts. To the right is a castellated wall marking one of the Wallasey shore fortifications.

One of the joys of Salmon’s paintings are the many human figures offering small vignettes of seafaring life. Here to the right fore we see a pair of sailors caulking the seams of a small fishing craft while a well-dressed spectator looks on. Just beyond, another figure wades, chest-deep, through one of the pools. He’s likely a shrimper, balancing his bundled catch on his shoulders. There are nearly 100 figures shown here, between the ships and land, all drawn to the active shoreline of one of Britain’s great port cities.

Salmon used alternate spellings of his last name, and the version here, “Saloman” was a known variant used to sign paintings.

Verso: Berry Hills Galleries NY Label
Provenance: Private Southwest United States Collection
Framed Size 44 3/4 x 29 7/8 Inches
Styles / Movements Luminism, Realism
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