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“To paint a commissioned work successfully, I find it essential to visit the scene to take-in the whole setting before producing rough drawings or an oil sketch. This applies to depictions of sea battles or yachts. Just a ‘portrait’ of a yacht is never as successful as when it is set in racing scene for instance.”  Bill Bishop 2008


Case Studies of Completed Commissions.

The Battle of Copenhagen 1801

Oil on canvas 2000

“I was commissioned to paint a portrayal of this battle for a good friend, who happened to be the Danish Consul in Boston, Massachusetts. He was very keen that I should get the detail of the church spires totally accurate, so we took a very pleasant trip with him and his wife to Copenhagen to sketch the background. At the same time we visited the City's Maritime Museum and the historic dockyard. The canvas had to be just 16” x 24” to fit a space above his desk. Eventually we decided to use the angle used by Nicholas Pocock in 1806, but with corrected depictions of the spires, fortifications and the old mast house in the dockyard. For fun, I painted a tiny image of the client on one of the foreground vessels. He now keeps a magnifying glass hanging from the frame, to show friends his tiny image!”

Type 42 Destroyer, HMS Gloucester

Watercolour 1986

Whilst the Captain wanted a ‘portrait’ of his ship, he wanted her turning to add interest. He arranged access for me to the Fleet Photographic Unit in Portsmouth, where I was able to get several good photographs of the ship. Having completed the watercolour, I then painted the mount wash-lines to include the ship’s crest. I delivered the framed painting to the ship, where I joined the Captain for lunch. The moment he viewed the work for the first time, he said. “You have left the searchlight out on the side of the bridge!” I offered to borrow his pen and put a dot in to suggest it; however, he said he was just joking, but it is where he usually stands!

"Future ideas might include an exciting classic yacht racing scene viewed from the deck of a yacht to perhaps include the owner at the helm, with other yachts in the background.

Or it would be very interesting to produce a set of say four large oil paintings of Admiral Nelson's main victories to decorate a dining room, where they might be set into the panelling."


For commission enquiries, please email bill@bishopmarineart.com or telephone +44 (0) 23 92 483 489