The Training Ship Exmouth
HMS Exmouth was launched from Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, in 1854 as an Albion-class ship of the line and served during the Crimean War (1853 - 1856). Originally ordered as a sailing ship, she was converted to steam power before launch. Exmouth was leant as a training ship and moored off the coast of Essex in 1877. A training ship was used by the British Navy to train boys for naval service and seamanship. Often the boys were from poor backgrounds and the training ships used as a way of avoiding the workhouse. Wyllie was a prolific English painter of maritime themes and considered the most distinguished marine artist of his day. He spent early summers of his life in France with his parents and began to draw at an early age, displaying his natural talent. He worked as an illustrator for 'The Graphic' and 'The Illustrated London News'. In 1905 he published a biography of JMW Turner. His other favourite pastime was sailing, a passion which he shared with his brother. He lived much of the time on a boat in the lower Thames and painted directly from nature.