We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


A shipwreck off a rocky coast



Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg

France, England

31 Oct 1740 – 11 Mar 1812

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    81.5 x 125.2 cm original canvas; 82.7 x 126.0 cm stretcher; 105.5 x 148.5 x 11.5 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r., brown paint "J P [de]e L fec / 17[5?][?]".

    Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 2002
    South Building, ground level, Grand Courts
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg

    Works in the collection


  • About

    De Loutherbourg was born in Strasbourg, but moved with his family to Paris in 1755. He exhibited at the Paris salon from 1762. His works were mainly either landscapes inspired by Dutch 17th-century prototypes or romanticised shipwrecks which continue the tradition of Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-1789). He also painted pictures of bandits recalling the style of Salvator Rosa.

    He moved to London in November 1771 where he worked as a stage designer at the Drury Lane theatre for David Garrick and subsequently for Richard Brinsley Sheridan. He is recognised as the most inventive and influential stage designer active Europe during the eighteenth century.

    He continued to paint landscapes in England, his work tending to become more topographical. He subsequently turned to Biblical subjects where his sense of the dramatic find expression in scenes of terrfiying chaos, works which 'made a profound impression on J.M.W. Turner and John Martin'.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 9 publications

  • Provenance

    The provenance of this work is under review and records will be updated as new details become available. The Gallery welcomes any information. Contact provenance@ag.nsw.gov.au

    Helbing, Munich/Germany, 19 February 1913, lot 95

    Private Collection, Germany, dates unknown. Sold at auction, Van Ham, Cologne, 8 Apr 2000, lot 1537.

    Agnew's, London, 14 Dec 2000-2002, London/England, Purchased at auction, Sotheby's London, 14 Dec 2000, no 220 (consigned to them from the 'continental trade). Purchased by the AGNSW from Agnew's, 26 Feb 2002.