John Chancellor (1925-1987)

John Chancellor was uniquely qualified to be a maritime artist. He had shown a considerable talent for drawing and painting as a child and continued to enjoy it as a hobby during his thirty years as a seaman on home and foreign waters. In 1971 he decided to come ashore and paint for the first of his three highly successful exhibitions. He combined his considerable talent as a painter with an acutely observant eye which had absorbed the sea conditions, sailing ships and barges which he had experienced. But Chancellor was very different from your typical sea and ships man, he shunned the popular cliché subjects, clipper ships under full canvas, Battle of Trafalgar, and ocean liners. Instead he poured hundreds of hours into his own research into sea situations that interested him. As he became more intrigued with the sailing era, Chancellor became engaged in very thorough and sometimes original research into the plans, logs and narratives that are part of our seagoing heritage. He created powerful paintings of the sea and ships, which are now acknowledged as being so detailed and accurate that they are surely documents in their own right.

By the time he died in 1984, he had been painting full time for only fourteen years. He had completed seventy oils and a similar number of watercolours. A quiet and friendly man, his early death came as a particular blow to lovers of marine painting who had quickly come to recognise his outstanding contribution to the genre, a man who set himself the highest standards.