Thomas J. Somerscales

British, b.1842, d.1927

Homeward Bound

  • 1903
  • Oil on canvas
  • Sir Joseph Kinsey bequest
  • 689 x 1146 x 48mm
  • 69/575

A lone ship heading home from travels on the high seas, bound for the safety of a harbour. There’s nothing quite like first-hand experience for a self-taught artist to draw on, and Thomas Somerscales had certainly had plenty of experience as a sailor when he decided to become a painter and specialise in maritime subjects. Somerscales joined the Royal Navy in 1863 and spent many years serving in Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa the Pacific Ocean until he was taken ill in Tahiti. He was put ashore in Chile and discharged, and by 1874 he was working as a professional artist at Valparaiso before eventually returning to England in 1893. Many British immigrants to Aotearoa and the Pacific and their descendants still referred to Britain to as home even though they had established themselves in their new countries halfway around the world.

(Ship Nails and Tail Feathers, 10 June – 22 October 2023)

Exhibition History