Montague Dawson


One of the most commercially successful painters of the last century, Montague Dawson is acknowledged as a supreme painter of the sea and the deep ocean. Born in Chiswick, West London, Montague Dawson became perhaps the greatest painter of the sea and sailing ships of the first part of the 20h century.

His father and grandfather were both marine painters and this maritime background was reinforced when, early in his life, his family moved to Smugglers House on Southampton Water, on England’s south coast. Dawson never went to art school but, around 1910, he joined a commercial art studio in London, working on posters and illustrations.

Joining the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the First World War, Dawson met Charles Napier Hemy who was to have a great influence on the young man’s art.

Dawson had supplied illustrations to the Sphere magazine during the First World War and after the war set up as a painter and illustrator. He concentrated on historical subjects and sailing ships, usually under full sail on the deep ocean. He achieved great commercial success starting in the 1920’s, showing at the Royal Academy from 1916 to 1936 and regularly at the Royal Society of Marine Artists, of which he was a member.

Dawson moved to Milford-on-sea in Hampshire in the 1930’s. In the Second World War he illustrated events of the war for the Sphere and afterwards continued a painting career that was financially one of the most successful of the 20th century. He died in Sussex in 1973.