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Keeper of the Seas

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Keeper of the Seas - painting by Graham Turner of the Earl of Warwick's ships in action in the Channel Keeper of the Seas - original painting Ref: GT-KS

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, was appointed Captain of Calais - the last remaining English outpost in France - after his part in the 1455 Battle of St. Albans, and over the coming years the port would play a crucial role in the Yorkists' future success, providing a refuge in times of crisis, and a base from which to launch fresh campaigns.

From Calais Warwick enhanced his reputation as a man of action by carrying out numerous attacks on shipping, appealing to many of his countrymen who saw his exploits as some recompense for the humiliating defeats in France; 'erle of Warrewyk, having a strong and a myghte naveye kepte the strayte see'.

On 28th May 1458 a Spanish fleet was spotted - 'wherof there was xvj grete schippis of forecastell' - and Warwick sent 'fyve schippis of forecastell and iij carvellis and iiij spynnes' to intercept them. The battle off Calais lasted all day, and is described in a letter from John Jernyngan to Margaret Paston: 'and there we took vj of her schippis... And as men sayne there was not so gret a batayle upon the se this xl wyntyr'.

Here, flying Warwick's distinctive colours, one of the English 'shippis of forecastell' comes alongside a heavily laden Spanish ship and prepares to board her, while similar actions take place in the background. Ship design was rapidly advancing through this period, with additional masts being added, and hulls traditionally built with overlapping planks, as here (and on the mid-fifteenth century ship recently excavated in Newport), being superseded by flush 'carvel' planking developed in the Mediterranean and seen on the Spanish ship in the painting. Sea battles were still fought and won by boarding the enemy, with guns slow to be adopted in naval warfare.

Original gouache painting by Graham Turner - image size 18.5"x 13.5" (47cm x 35cm) Note: When framed with a mount, the overall picture size will be larger. Painting is priced unframed.

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Detail from Keeper of the Seas - painting by Graham Turner of the Earl of Warwick's ships in action in the Channel
Graham Turner's Original Paintings are offered for sale by the artist himself, rather than through Studio 88, which is our print publishing business. Consequently, payment directly to him is preferred. If you are interested in purchasing an original painting, please email Graham Turner at to discuss the purchase or to arrange to visit.

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Keeper of the Seas print

High quality artist-signed prints are available reproduced from Graham Turner's painting 'Keeper of the Seas' - CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS
Keeper of the Seas - print from painting by Graham Turner of the Earl of Warwick's ships in action in the Channel


Graham Turner's eagerly anticipated book about the Wars of the Roses is now available.

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