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Art inspires voyage of discovery

Local photographer publishes book about Victorian maritime artist following 10 years of research and three years of writing, after buying one of his paintings at an antiques fair

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Art inspires voyage of discovery

THE life and works of one of Britain’s great maritime artists has been explored in a Thatcham man’s book.

Peter Sutton discovered his love for Samuel Owen’s work after buying one of his paintings at an antiques fair in the 1980s, however, he was told that little was known about the man behind the brush.

Hanging up the painting at home, Mr Sutton began to ponder on Owen’s life. “The more I studied it the more I began to appreciate that here was an example of an artist who understood the sea and nature’s forces for he was able to incorporate into his pictures a marvelous sense of movement and atmosphere,” Mr Sutton said.  

Ten years of research, including trips to the British Museum, Portsmouth Dockyard, the USA and Canada, and three years of writing later, Mr Sutton’s self-published and profusely illustrated book Samuel Owen Artist and Sea Captain uncovers more about the artist’s life.

Samuel Owen was born around 1769 and spent his early career as a seaman and officer in the Royal Navy and the East India Company.

A former photographer, Mr Sutton said that his love for Owen’s work came from his passion for the art and for sailing as Owen’s work expresses the emotion of the sea and those on it. 

“In his paintings he showed he had a love for his sailors and fisherfolk, and made them some of the most realistic marine pictures ever painted,” Mr Sutton said.

Mr Sutton said that he feared that his book would never be finished owing to health problems he and his wife Caroline experienced in 2011.

The book includes a foreword from Commander John Morton Lee OBE RN (Retd), congratulating Mr Sutton on his extensive research into Owen’s previously unknown seafaring career.

Samuel Owen Artist and Sea Captain is available to buy on or via Mr Sutton’s website about the artist,

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