Miles Walters (1773-1849) was born in Ilfracombe, Devon. In his own words “The Artist in his Youthful Days worked in a Mold Loft and has been 13 years at Sea and has painted upwards of 200 Ships in the last Six Years and Sent them to all corners of the World.” He moved to Liverpool some time during the 1820s. Overshadowed by his more famous son Samuel Walters, Miles’ work is characterised by an exceptional attention to detail. His experience as a shipwright and seaman comes through in every line, flag and pennant, and the landmarks in the background of his paintings.
In this painting, the observer is looking across the mouth of the Mersey from Liverpool towards the Wirral peninsula. The ship Gipsey, the subject of the painting, is shown in three different positions. You can just make out Fort Perch Rock in the background, near the base of the rear mast in the central view of the Gipsey. Gipsey was built in 1826, and construction of Fort Perch Rock started in the same year and finished about 1829.
The artist has also taken pains to show Bidston Lighthouse and some of the signal poles that ran the length of Bidston Hill. You can see them clearly in this higher-resolution detail of the extreme left of the painting.
I am grateful to Vallejo Maritime Gallery for permission to use these images, and to Colin Dilnot for bringing this wonderful painting to my attention.
- “Marine Art & Liverpool: Painters, Places & Flag Codes 1760-1960″, A. S. Davidson, Waine Research Publications, 1986, ISBN 0 905184 10 6.