Drake's Island, Plymouth Sound, Devon

Drake's Island, Plymouth Sound, Devon



John Callow (1822-1878)
Drake's Island, Plymouth Sound, Devon

Inscribed and dated lower right:
Drake's Island/June 24. 52
Watercolour over pencil on buff paper
25.4 by 35.5 cm., 10 by 14 in.

John Callow trained under his elder brother William and accompanied him to Paris in 1835. Eventually he took over his Paris studio, only returning to England in 1844. He ran a highly successful drawing practice, teaching at the military arsenals at Addiscombe and Woolwich and also became Professor at Queen's College, London.

Coastal subjects such as the present watercolour, with its use of pure watercolour washes, are particularly characteristic of the artist's work. This view depicts the small island which lies in Plymouth Sound, between the city and the Cornish coast. Fron the reign of Henry VIII, it was regarded as strategically important in the defence of the English coast. During the Civil War, it played a key role in supporting Plymouth in withstanding the four year long siege by the Royalists. It is now privately owned, having been sold in the mid 1990s.