View of Liverpool from the Fort with a Ship on Fire

WAG 9219


One of four views of the river Mersey which Serres painted during his stay in Liverpool from 1796 to 1798. The Fort mentioned in the title was a small battery which stood on the site now occupied by the Princes Dock. The old spire of St Nicholas's church is visible on the left. Serres, who is shown sketching in the bottom left hand corner, succeeded his father as Marine Painter to the King and was also the draughtsman to the Admirality. His career, however, was marred by an unfortunate marriage, as described by the Liverpool painter John Turmeau (1777 - 1847) who knew the couple: "their quarrels were frequent and violent. Mrs. Serres was accustomed to pursue him with a poker from room to room, smashing doors and every obstacle. He sometimes made his retreat by the window..."