Ship Building

Image credit: Bridport Town Council

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This picture represents the well-known shipyard of Elias Cox at Bridport Harbour, whose ships sailed many seas in all kinds of weather. The spectator is placed immediately at the front door of the house lived in by Mr Cox. Left and right are two ships in the process of construction surrounded by staging and busy with men. The eye follows between these across the basin to where the old crane house and lime kiln filled the quay, backed by the Bridport Arms, while the green slope of the East Cliff forms a fitting distance to the picture.

A cloud-driven sky foretells the storms which the ships may meet, while the sunshine foretells the fine voyages which complete the light and shade of a ship’s life. In the left foreground is the old disused sawpit with top and bottom sawyer; on the right the blacksmith, Eli Forsey of Eype, is shown at his grindstone, and in the middle distance is the blue-coated figure of the shipbuilder and master Elias Cox himself, who with the plan of a ship in his hand surveys the work which is slowly and surely growing under his skilled direction.

Bridport Town Hall



Ship Building




oil on panel


H 119.5 x W 170 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

presented by the artist, 1924–1925

Work type



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Normally on display at

Bridport Town Hall

East Street, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3HA England

Not all locations are open to the public. Please contact the gallery or collection for more information
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