Painting by Sunderland artist with Dickens link fetches £10,000 at auction

Prison Hulks Lying In The Estuary'In A Stiff Breeze,by Sunderland-born artist'Clarkson Stanfield

Prison Hulks Lying In The Estuary'In A Stiff Breeze,by Sunderland-born artist'Clarkson Stanfield

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AN oil painting by a Sunderland artist who became a close friend of Charles Dickens has sold for £10,000 at auction.

Prison Hulks Lying In The Estuary In A Stiff Breeze was painted by Clarkson Stanfield in 1836.

The 28in by 40in work was sold at Christie’s South Kensington in London on Wednesday.

Stanfield was born in High Street East, Sunderland, on December 3, 1793, and went on to become a child actor and later an apprentice to a coach painter.

He joined the Navy and sailed halfway around the world before he got to work as a London scene painter and at last found his calling as a marine artist.

He also worked as a South Shields collier.

Charles Dickens was so fond of Stanfield that he dedicated his 1857 novel Little Dorrit to him.

When Stanfield died on May 18, 1867, Dickens described him as “the soul of frankness, generosity and simplicity. The most genial,the most affectionate and the most lovable of men.”

Stanfield’s importance as an artist was officially confirmed on February 10, 1835, when he became the first Sunderland-born artist to be elected to the prestigious Royal Academy in London, which entitled him to place the letters “RA” after his name.

Prison Hulks – the subject of the Stanfield painting sold this week – were decommissioned ships used as floating prisons in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were often used to hold convicts before their transportation to Australia.