Montague Dawson was born in Chiswick, West London in England in 1890. Dawson never attended art school, but was the grandson of artist Henry Dawson and nephew of artist Henry Alfred Dawson, both noted landscape and marine artists. Indeed, Dawson is acknowledged as a supreme painter of the sea, sailing ships and ocean seascapes of unsurpassed beauty and passion.
In 1910 Montague Dawson joined a commercial art studio where he developed his skill as an illustrator. It was during this time Dawson enhanced his techniques for seascapes and sailing vessels as he spent time in Southampton where he enjoyed fishing, sailing and watching the great ships of the world anchoring in the busy harbor.
At the outbreak of World War I, Dawson enlisted in the Royal Navy where he met Charles Napier Hemy who was to have a profound influence on Dawsonís art and technique. Following the war he exhibited at the Royal Academy. Dawsonís reputation grew steadily so that by the 1930s he was firmly established among the leading marine painters of the day and much sought after for increasingly important commissions. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, presented his paintings of the Royal English Yacht Blue Bottle to the Duke of Edinburgh. In addition, American Presidential Collections have contained examples of Montague Dawsonís work.
Known for his accuracy and attention to detail, Dawsonís work is carefully researched and carefully painted. His knowledge of the sea and ships together with his technical accuracy combine to give Dawsonís work the truthful reality for which he is known. ìYou are really there,î he has said if his paintings. ìYou can hear the sea.î
In the mid 1930s Dawson moved to Milford on Sea in Hampshire. During the second World War he illustrated events of the war for the Sphere Magazine as well as continuing a painting career that was one of the most successful of the 20th century. His subjects ranged from recording the Battle of Trafalgar, to moments from American War of Independence, to the return of the CUTTY SARK. Among his most coveted works are the ocean races that he painted between sea clippers returning to London from China during the tea trade.
He died in Sussex in 1973.