Four Steamship Paintings in Lifesaver Frames
George Race, 1923

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Detail of S.S. Supporter
Detail of S.S. Supporter George Race Signature

Details of painting, frame and signature

George Race (British, 1872-1957)
S.S. Two Boys, LT. 1158
S.S. Supporter, LT. 119 [boat facing left]
S.S. Supporter, LT. 119 [boat facing right]
S.S. Victor & Mary, LT. 1190

Oil on panel in oil painted and rope-decorated wooden frames
Each signed "G. Race" and dated 1923
7.75 inches diameter, image
12 inches diameter, framed
Sold as a set of 4, Price on Request

Set of four circular paintings of steamships at sea, mounted in frames taking the form of lifesavers (or lifebelts, as they are called in the U.K.).  This format and method of framing was a personal trademark of the artist, George Race.  Each frame is painted white, and hand-painted with the name and number of the ship, and two associated flags, and decorated with rope. Frames are original, as made by the artist.

George Race was a British folk artist based in Suffolk, England.  A 2005 article in Britain’s East Anglian Daily Times described his paintings in the collection of the Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Museum, and explained that Race was among a group of maritime artists known as “pierhead” painters who were patronized by sailors and crewmen:

Of particular interest are works by the local “pierhead” painters, who specialized in portraits of ships for the seamen who crewed them.  Typically, the paintings were of a broadside view with the sails set, and although free from formal painting techniques they are exact and generally technically accurate.  The pierhead painters worked quickly -- so that their prospective clients had not left port before the paintings were finished and sold!

Condition: Each painting generally very good with the usual overall light wear, soiling, craqueleure, abrasions.  Frames similar, slightly more wear and abrasions; some age shrinkage cracking of wood.

Reference:

“Rarely see the light of day.”  East Anglian Daily Times.  26 November 2005.  Online at www.thepcf.org.uk/media/.../east_anglian_daily_times_nov050002.pdf (1 July 2009).

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