Stephen Jack Fine Art

Archive of Works by Derek Gardner

See also Paintings for Sale by Derek Gardner

HMS Thunderer
HBM 74 gun ship-of-the-line THUNDERER 

Watercolour, 10 x 16 inches

Derek Gardner in his Studio
Derek Gardner in his studio working on the painting of
the Destroyer, Broke, the ship in which he served in 1939.

Derek Gardner was born in 1914 and after leaving school in 1931 he studied to become a civil engineer.

He received no formal art training but had a lifelong interest in all matters relating to ships and the sea; an interest which sprang from earlier days in Glasgow where his father was the Chief Engineer of the Port of Glasgow and the Clyde Navigation Trust. In his younger days he read Southey's Life of Nelson which sparked what was to become a lifelong interest in the broad scope of naval history, particularly the French wars of the 18th and early 19th centuries.


HBM 12-gun cutter TRIAL launched Plymouth 1790 served until 1813
Signed watercolour
9¼ x 13¼ inches


In 1934 he joined the Clyde Division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and later served throughout the war in the Royal Navy. In 1942 he was mentioned in dispatches for distinguished service when the destroyer "Broke" was sunk in the Mediterranean. He retired from the Navy in 1947 with the rank of Commander and resumed his career as a chartered civil engineer working for the Colonial Service in Kenya.


Racing Clippers
Racing clippers: Flying Fish and Wild Pigeon 1852
Oil on panel 6¼ x 9½ inches

Whilst in Kenya, he devoted much of his spare time to painting in both oil and watercolour, working on both landscape and maritime works, some of which were submitted for exhibition. In 1963 with the onset of his deafness he was forced to retire from the Colonial Service. Returning to England and an uncertain future, he began a new career as an artist, concentrating on the paintings of maritime history for which he has become so well known today.
Derek George Montague Gardner: Boreas

HBM 28-gun frigate Boreas off the Island of Nevis, 1787

Oil on board, 16 x 12 inches

Derek George Montague Gardner: Thunderer

Thunderer & Robust "Off Bell Isle"

Oil on board 6 ¼ x 9¾ inches


Derek George Montague Gardner: Conquoror
H M 74 Gun Ship "Conqueror" off Portugal, Nov 1807
Watercolour 13 x 19 inches


Derek George Montague Gardner: Norman Court
The Norman Court – Clipper

Signed & dated 1991
Watercolour 9¼ x 13¼ inches

The 16 gun sloop ZEBRA

Watercolour 4¼ x 7½ inches
He was elected to membership of the Royal Society of Marine Artists in 1966 and, in both 1982 and 1984 he was a finalist in the Hunting Group Art Prizes organised by the Federation of British Artists. In 1988 the Royal Society of Marine Artists accorded him the unusual honour of electing him to be an Honorary Vice President for life.

HBM Isis
HBM “ISIS”, 50 guns, sighting the Dutch “Rotterdam”
in the Channel 31 December 1779

Watercolour 10 x 15 inches

He came to international notice from 1968 when he began exhibiting at the Polak Gallery in London. A series of seven highly successful one-man exhibitions took place at the Polak Gallery in 1972, 1975, 1978, 1982, 1987, 1990 and 1995, each accompanied by a splendid catalogue where Derek documented all the works on display. The gallery location in central London meant that the Gardner paintings were finding a large enthusiastic audience from all parts of the world, most notably in the USA.
HBM Undaunted
HBM 38 gun frigate UNDAUNTED
Watercolour, 5½ x 8½ inches
Although Derek was dedicated to his art his output was not particularly prolific; his method of working meant that each painting was the product of many weeks of research, design and painting, meaning that there were long gaps between the exhibitions and hungry collectors eagerly awaiting the new output at each event. His last London exhibition in 2005 – after a gap of 10 years - was on the theme of Nelson's ships, a major exhibition celebrating the Bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The 28-gun frigate "Boreas", launched 1774.
Commanded by Captain Horatio Nelson from March 1784 to November 1787
Watercolour, 10 x 14 inches

Today Derek Gardner is considered to be one of the leading maritime artists of his era. He received many accolades for his work and won admiration of collectors and maritime experts for his ability to portray ships with great accuracy while conveying the colour, the luminosity and all the drama of the wind and sea:

“Derek's work combines marvellous seascapes with accurate ships, carefully researched and meticulously rendered…yet such accuracy is merely a bonus, for the pictures appeal for their very composition – for the movement of the clouds, the look of the sea in all its motion, and for all the play of light and shadow”
-         Alex. Hurst, who wrote a number of articles on Derek Gardner and was author of several books including The Maritime History of theWorld and Thomas Somerscales : Marine Artist : His Life and Work

“This is wonderful stuff! He (Derek Gardner) handles many things well, but one notable thing is the effect of wind ruffling across the surface of the sail that is just on the edge of lifting or luffing. This makes me think he must be accustomed to knocking about under sail… one feels that it could come only out of experience; photos don't catch the effect and neither do most marine artists.

The great thing is the way the ships sit in the water and the lovely effects of light at sea. All just great stuff!...” - Peter Stanford, President of the National Maritime Historical Society, USA

Derek Gardner's  work is in a number of public collections including the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, the museums in Bermuda and Tenerife and in many private collections worldwide.


The Emigrant Ship, "Morayshire"
Oil on panel 10 x 16 inches


The China Clipper "Ariel"
Oil on panel 18 x 24 inches

Derek Gardner's work has appeared in the following publications:

· Tall Ships by Gareth Rees. Phaidon, 1978

· Dictionary of Sea Painters. Antique Collectors Club 1980

· The Windjammers by Oliver Allen. Time Life Books, 1978

· 20th Century British Maritime Painting by Denys Brook-Hart

· Maler der See Peter Tamm and Others. Koehler, 1980

· The Passage Makers by Michael Stammers. Teredo Books, 1978

· The Maritime History of the World by Duncan Haws and Alex Hurst. Teredo Books,1985

· Sea History Magazine, Winter 1990

· Charleston's Maritime Heritage, 1670 – 1865

· An Illustrated History by P C Coker III. Cokercraft Press, 1987

· Architectural Digest – Feature on the collection of Tom Selleck

· Longitude, 1990, colour illustrations with text by Alex Hurst.   Carlstedt Forlag AB Stockholm

· A Celebration of Marine Art. 50 years of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. R.S.M.A , 1996

· The Tall Ship in Art. Blandford, 1998

· Nelson's Ships: A Trafalgar Tribute. Antique Collectors Club 2005


Derek George Montague Gardner: Woolwich
Unloading merchantmen, Woolwich Reach 1955

Oil on panel 7 3/8 x 11 inches


Artist: Derek Gardner Battle cruisers in the Forth
Battlecruisers of the First World War in the Firth of Forth, May 1916

Oil on panel 10 x 30 inches

Derek George Montague Gardner: Thunderer

Thunderer & Robust "Off Bell Isle"

Oil on board 6 ¼ x 9¾ inches


Derek George Montague Gardner: Conquoror
H M 74 Gun Ship "Conqueror" off Portugal, Nov 1807

Watercolour 13 x 19 inches


Derek George Montague Gardner: Norman Court
The Norman Court – Clipper

Signed & dated 1991
Watercolour 9¼ x 13¼ inches


All images are copyright of the artist's estate.
Reproduction of images may be considered for achademic oe research purposes.
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See also Paintings for Sale by Derek Gardner