Geoff Hunt II
Oil Paintings & Watercolours of the Mediterranean, London & Marine History
31 May – 5 June
“An artist who can paint the present and also reconstruct the past – that is extremely rare”
Charles Mayes, Marine Artists, London
Geoff Hunt is Chairman of the Wapping Group of Artists, a famous plein-air painting group who paint every week at locations along the river Thames and its estuary. He is also one of the world’s most famous marine artists, well-known for his cover paintings for the Patrick O’Brian naval historical novels and for innumerable carefully researched paintings of naval history, specialising particularly in the age of Nelson.
The paintings in this exhibition represent both strands of Geoff Hunt’s work, topographical, landscape painting and specialist historical marine art.
The show opens with a dozen oil paintings of Mediterranean scenes, four large canvasses and eight smaller studies on board or panel. Restrictions prevented travel this year and these pictures were painted using sketches from previous voyages, several of them on the beautiful ship Sea Cloud. These latter trips were themed to explore the work of the naval writer Patrick O’Brian and the history of Nelson’s navy. Locations include Venice, Corsica, Collioure, Perpignan, Saint-Tropez and Istanbul.
The exhibition continues with a large group of watercolours, chiefly of London scenes. These are mainly plein-air paintings in the Wapping Group tradition – some were painted last year in “virtual form” due to restrictions.
The second part of the show comprises the historical marine paintings for which the artist is known world-wide. Showing here for the first time is a group of eight watercolours of Nelson-era scenes painted especially for the exhibition.
This is a lively mixture of finished studio paintings, oil sketches and watercolours made on the spot together with meticulously researched marine art. Both themes are equally important to Geoff Hunt and it is rare to find a painter who can work in two such different genres – the first where what is seen is painted straight from life, the second (the historical marine paintings) in which the subject is wholly constructed from research and historical record.