Monet in Mind – Henry Dawson Senior

Posted: 17th May 2021

Humber Museums Partnership - Monet in Mind – Henry Dawson Senior

Henry DAWSON Senior
b.1811 – d.1878
Wild Sunset 1875
Oil on Canvas
Henry Dawson began painting in 1835 at age 24, having spent most of his early life working as a lacemaker.
Dawson often compared himself to the late J. M. W. Turner in his personal writings. However, Dawson’s unique style and flair made him a highly-regarded painter and he found his works regularly sold for more than double the original commission at auction.
Wild Sunset evokes the transition between afternoon and evening, the setting sun drawing the eye to the horizon.

Samuel Courtauld, the founder of The Courtauld, wrote poetry about the artworks in his collection. Following in his footsteps many years later, young people aged 16-25 from The Warren Youth Project in Hull, were inspired to compose their own creative writing.

Based on Wild Sunset 1875

Hephaestus lights the forge – he works into the night – coals twinkle and tools gleam, his hammer on the horizon strikes
Amber sparks into moody cloud –
Covering his unseemly face – he wears it modestly – waves rock and ships leer, each clang of his fiery art strikes
Thrill in the mortals who watch him –
Only ever seeing the blacksmith’s remnants blaze the darkening sky.

By Sarah Magaharan
Setting Sail (Based on Wild Sunset)
Journey begins at sunset,
when winds begin to blow;
an approaching storm is nothing to laugh at
but they’re not afraid of it.
They’ve done this many times before
in storms worse than this;
here, the sun can still be seen sinking towards the horizon-
that’s their destination, too-
onwards to new treasures and lands and adventures,
going in a similar way to their ancestors.
The sun will fade, but this storm will pass;
tomorrow will be a new day,
where a fresh horizon awaits.

By Kelly Cartwright

Sailing Under A Dying Sun Based on ‘Wild Sunset’, 1875

If black fog could be carried as cargo,
We would gain riches from every port.

If clear skies could stay along with the sun,
Our sails would cling to every cloud.

If rough waves could only beat in the light,
The Captain would sleep sounder in his bunk.

If lost ships could not guide themselves back home,
What would that compass in the sky be for?

If shipwrecked men could not bathe in its glow,
Why would they hold hope on an empty shore?

If the seven seas could host entertainment,
A setting sun would be closing curtain.

If we could not sail past a wild sunset,
The ocean would be a dark place to swim.

By Andrew Gooch