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Pilot Boats off Dover

Photo credit: Victoria Art Gallery

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William Adolphus Knell specialised in seascapes. These were very popular in the 19th century and Knell painted many views of the British coastline, including two for Queen Victoria. He also painted the seas around France and the Netherlands.

This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1847. Although the catalogue for that year gives the title ‘Pilot Boats off Dover’ there has, more recently, been debate about whether the painting shows Dover or Scarborough. The features on the headland do, indeed, resemble Scarborough, but the artist may have distorted a Dover scene to include the castle and church. The two coastlines have frequently been mistaken for one another in paintings.

Victoria Art Gallery





oil on canvas


H 63.2 x W 90.8 cm

Accession number

BATVG : P : 1934.6

Acquisition method

bequeathed by E. Newton Fuller, 1934

Work type



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Victoria Art Gallery

Bridge Street, Bath, Somerset BA2 4AT England

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