Back to list  Next lot Previous lot

Lot 42 (The Scottish Contemporary Art Auction, 11th November 2018)


Sold for £420


watercolour on paper, signed and titled
35cm x 53cm
Mounted, framed and under glass
Note: John Nicholson was only five when his love affair with ships began. John was fascinated by the workings of a paddle steamer on a day trip to the Isle of Man in 1925 and he was still enjoying sailing on the paddle steamer PS Waverley 78 years later. Drawing was also an interest from a very young age and family holidays on the Clyde in the 1930s provided the subject matter for many of his early paintings. John served in WWII and spent four years as a POW. In the early 1950s he began receiving commissions. Pen and ink drawings appeared in several shipping magazines and from 1984 until 1987, John was commissioned to paint all new vessels to the Cal/Mac fleet. His attention to detail in all his pictures often led to extended correspondence with those wanting a painting of a ship in a particular livery or location. His regular trips to the Isle of Man resulted in a commission from Captain Jack Ronan to paint three Steam Packet ships for him. In 1993 he was commissioned to do a set of paintings of The Isle of Man Steam Packet ships for postage stamps issued by the Isle of Man Post Office. John was a renowned marine artist and his works will remain as a permanent memorial to his abiding interest in all things to do with the sea and, for more than 25 years, he provided the PS Waverley with artwork for their postcards, posters, timetables and advertisements - and all completely free of charge. Early in 1990, the publishers Hart, Maclagan & Will were printing their first book in The Memories of the Clyde series, The Duchess of Fife. They were searching for a suitable front-cover illustration and contact was made with John Nicholson. In 1992 the second title, Steamers of the Clyde, featured all 24 illustrations painted by John Nicholson. In 1994, Liners of the Clyde was published. This book contained illustrations of 24 liners all painted by John with his own authoritative descriptions. He followed this with another work on the steamers of the Clyde and Western Isles with the words provided by himself, Robin Boyd and Iain Quinn. TS Duchess of Hamilton was buit in 1932 by Harland and Wolff at Govan for the Caledonian Steam Packet Company. She was a popular boat providing day cruises from Ayr, Troon and Ardrossan. After the war she ran long distance excursions from Gourock to Campeltown and later to Ayr, Arran and Inveraray. Her last voyage was to Campbeltown on 28th September 1970.

Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate and honest condition reports, none of our staff is a professional conservator, restorer or engineer. Any condition report offered should be accepted as an indication of any obvious issues or problems or the lack of them. Buyers are urged to satisfy themselves in respect of the condition of any lot and McTear’s can provide contact details of local professional restorers who will provide fully comprehensive expert reports – usually for a modest charge. The condition report does not form part of any contract between McTear's and the buyer, and all lots are offered "as is" in accordance with our Terms of Business in the printed catalogue and available on our website.