This Interesting Painting Has Been Sold. Thank
SILK THREAD ON CANVAS
In the style of Thomas H. Willis (1860-1925)
Embroidery on oil on canvas 19 th
Century, Ca 1875
Unframed 35 1/2″ L x 19 3/4″ H
Framed 41 1/2″ x 26″ x 2 3/4D
Presented is an embroidery of three American sailing yachts very much in the style of Thomas H. Willis the
recognized master of using silk thread, satin and embroidery on painted canvas to portray all types of vessels.
In this work, the gaff headed cutter in the foreground with a spoon bow is of a type that was popular in the last quarter
of the 19th Century and early in the 20th Century. She fly’s the American flag from her main gaff, and the burgee of the New
York Yacht Club from her main truck. There is a similar cutter with black hull and plumb bow on the same course astern
and a sloop with a clipper bow on a reciprocal course ahead off her to her starboard. The weather is pleasant with
blue skies and gentle seas.
The painting is unsigned, and the stars in the American flag are not evident so they are no help in
dating the work. However the painting is clearly quite old and the style, materials and workmanship is typical of the
work of Willis, and no other. Please note that are photographs were
taken through glass and some of what the viewer sees is reflections of the background.
Willis had the ability to capture the
image of ships and yachts using mostly silk thread and embroidery techniques as others would use paint. His work is startlingly
realistic as is this one.
CONSTRUCTION: The background is oil on canvas. The hulls of all three yachts are velvet. The sails appear to be silk
or satin fabric. The rigging is silk thread, and the detailing such as rubbing strakes, detailing, American flag, burgees, and
figures is embroidered in heavy thread. The panels of the sails are drawn in pencil.
CONDITION: The painting is very old with much crackling, and somewhat stiff. The wood frame with
ornate detail weighs about 22 pounds. The frame shows its age by an accumulation of years of dust, but
is intact. The canvas is quite old with lots of crackling, and a small tear in the lower center bottom and
what may be a small break in the center sky. The main sail on the boats show single tears which are quite evident
in the pictures. The thread rigging on the sailboats is broken, but this can be easily restored by a professional. There
is a small water stain on the clew of the larger cutter’s mainsail.
All this is taken into account in the pricing
which is quite reasonable for a work of art of this size, complexity and charm.