Quiggins surveys the Templer’s cottage. “His eyes continued to stray over the very indifferent nineteenth- century seascapes that covered the walls; hung together in patches as if put up hurriedly… ” [AW 87/ 80]
The tradition of painting the sea must be nearly as old as painting itself. British painters in the the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were inspired particularly by Dutch seventeenth century marine painters. (see, for example, Seascapes: Marine Paintings and Watercolors from the U Collection shown at the Yale Center for British Art). Some of the finest artists of the nineteenth century counted seascapes among their works, so why concentrate here on the indifferent? Once again, Jenkins is reflecting, somewhat superciliously, on the tastes and patrimony of his friends; the seascapes had hung in Templer’s parents’ seaside house. What is more intriguing to us is how Powell introduces these paintings so casually here, with no hint that he will revisit them in more detail in the concluding pages of Dance; we will speculate more about them then. In the meantime, if you want to inexpensively hide the divots in your wallpaper, go to eBay and bid on nineteenth century seascapes. Today (March 1, 2014), the watercolor below had an asking bid of £21.