Montague Dawson (British, 1895–1973) was a renowned painter who is widely viewed as one of the best sea painters of the 20th-century. Dawson was born in Chiswick, London, and spent much of his childhood studying ships on the Southampton Water. Around 1910, Dawson briefly worked for a commercial art studio in Bedford Row, London, but left to join the Royal Navy at the onset of the First World War. It was during the war, while working for the Navy in Falmouth, that he met Charles Napier Hemy (British, 1841–1917), one of the people who would most influence his works. In 1924, during an expedition to the South Seas, in which he was the official artist, Dawson provided The Graphic magazine with illustrated reports of the expedition. It was also during this time that many of his paintings were published in The Sphere newspaper. These paintings included representations of events surrounding the final surrender of the German High Seas Fleet. Dawson is known as the King of the Clipper Ship Artists, a term of endearment that is used by people all over the world. Examples of his work include The Guardian, circa 1936, and a A Fair Wind.

At the end of the First World War, Dawson concentrated on painting ships. He became very good at it and established himself in the genre, inspired by Britain's rich nautical heritage. Dawson gained even more exposure after he became associated with Frost & Reed fine art dealers. As a result of this increased exposure, demand for Dawson's paintings grew and his patrons came to include many aristocrats of his time. President Lyndon B. Johnson, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the British Royal Family were all his patrons.

He held many exhibitions regularly at the Royal Society of Marine Artists, England, as a member from 1946 to 1964, and sometimes at the Royal Academy, England, from 1917 to 1936. In the 1930s, he moved to in Milford-Upon-Sea in Hampshire and stayed there for many years. Dawson died in England in 1973. His works can be found at the National Maritime Museum of Greenwich, England and the Royal Naval Museum of Portsmouth, England.

Timeline

1895
Born: Chiswick, London
1910
Joined an art studio in Bedford Row, London