Clay Head

Image credit: Manx National Heritage

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The painting can be viewed both at a distance and at close quarters. Overall it provides a view of rolling waves crashing on to the rocks at Clay Head, Lonan, looking north along the coast to Laxey. It probably depicts a winter storm judging by the cold icy colour of the water and the sea boiling like a giant cauldron. On closer inspection, one can see the wrack (seaweed) left by the storm hanging off the rocks, a lone black bird flying over the waves (probably a shag or a cormorant) and the smaller gulls flying over or sheltering in amongst the rocks. At a distance, you might assume the rocks and waves to be five to ten feet high, but when you look at the relative size of the birds against the rocks, the scale increases dramatically. On the right-hand side of the painting is a tiny detail, easily missed, of a ship on the horizon struggling in the storm.

Manx Museum



Clay Head


oil on canvas


H 67 x W 119 cm

Accession number


Work type



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Manx Museum

Douglas, Isle of Man IM1 3LY Isle of Man

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