Francis Swaine

1725 - 1782

Francis Swaine was a British marine painter.
He was born in 1725, and christened on 7 October of that year at St Dunstan's, Stepney, London. His parents were named Francis Swaine and Ann Joel. In 1735 the elder Francis Swaine, the marine painter's father, applied in writing to the Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy for employment as a Navy Messenger, in succession to Mr William Wyatt. He mentions that he had served "upwards of twenty eight years" in the Navy, and that his father had died Purser of the Royal Katherine. He mentions also that he had carried out "little labours in drawing", and that he at that time had five small children. The first-born of these children was the Francis Swaine who became the marine painter. The elder Swaine was duly employed as a Navy Messenger. He served for 20 years and died on 10 October 1755, aged 64.
Swaine is said to have been influenced by the style of van de Velde. There is no clear evidence of this alleged influence. The suggestion that Swaine may have been a pupil of Charles Brooking can be dismissed, as the difference in age between the two painters was a mere two years, and there is no visual evidence to support any such influence.
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