Rose Champion De Crespigny (British 1860-1935) "Broken but Unbowed" (our title), watercolour, signed lower right, 43cm x 24cm (17in x 9.5in) sight (visible painting) size. Mounted in its original glazed gilt wood frame (57.5cm x 38.5cm (approx 23in x 15in) frame size).
This is one of the finest depictions of a ship in a storm we have seen, yet it has been painted with subtlety and economy and not the bold strokes one might expect. As the daughter of a First Sea Lord of the Admiralty, this artist may well have had first-hand experience of ships, the sea and its moods. We must assume she did, because anyone who has had that experience will instantly see that this immensely atmospheric and moving painting is just "right", which is what gives it such dramatic impact. De Crespigny was clearly highly talented. That she was not exclusively an artist and did not have conventional views may have prevented her from entering the highest rankings of listed marine artists but that does not mean that her talent was not deserving of it.
Exhibited: The Continental Gallery Ltd, 157 New Bond Street, London, England (label verso). Between 1885 and 1904, the Continental Gallery specialized in exhibiting contemporary European art in London, including the work of Gustav Zorn, Jan Van Beers, and Jean Delville. The Gallery also exhibited the work of British artists.
CONDITION: Excellent. Never removed from the original frame. No foxing or staining. Possibly slightly faded but we think very little if at all. The frame has had several chips along the outer edge, which have been retouched with gold paint. We think they are appropriate to the subject of the painting and its age and do not detract from it in the least.
BIOGRAPHY: Rose De Crespigny was born in 1860, the daughter of the Right Honorable Sir Astley Cooper-Key (First Sea Lord of the Admiralty). She was a fairly prolific painter of watercolors, mainly of marine subjects, and author of more than 20 novels.
After the death of her husband, Philip de Crespigny, she consulted a medium, Etta Wriedt, through whom she believed to have obtained evidence of survival. As a result she became a Spiritualist, the honorary principal of the British College of Psychic Science, and a national lecturer on psychic subjects.
Her experiences became the substance of many of her novels. For example, The Dark Sea (1927) deals with direct voice experiences and The Mark with reincarnation. She also wrote several pamphlets on Spiritualist themes. She died on February 10, 1935.