Well known marine artist Bill Bishop is calling on admirers of his work and maritime enthusiasts to help support some of the UK’s impoverished seafarers by donating the profits from the sale of a recent work ‘The approach to Trafalgar’ to Chichester based charity, the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.
Bill is also donating the profits from limited edition prints of his paintings of the 'Cutty Sark', which the Society featured on Christmas cards last year, along with the 'Victory entering Portsmouth for the last time' which it is producing as a card for the 2011 festive season.
The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society operates to help UK seafarers in need through a combination of regular and one-off crisis grants. In the last 12 months seafarers in 2,750 cases of need from across the country benefited from the Society’s support. In the last year alone it has distributed grants totalling over £1.6 million. It also helped beneficiaries access £31,000 in Government benefits.
Bill Bishop grew up in Portsmouth. Sailing on his father’s boats he began sketching and making models. Today, a full time artist, his medium is oils and his subject is anything from Viking ships to windsurfers, historical naval battles to contemporary yachting.
His work has been exhibited by the Royal Society of Marine Artists and he has received commissions from the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth and the Mary Rose Trust.
Explaining his reasons for wanting to help the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Bill said: “My subjects are sometimes ships in distress, particularly from historical battles, so it seemed logical to support the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society. My father was a World War Two fighter pilot and always owned boats so I have grown up on the water. I hope the sale of this painting will make a significant difference to retired seafarers in need.”
Chief Executive of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, Commodore Malcolm Williams, said: “We are extremely grateful to Bill Bishop for generously donating funds from the sale of his painting and prints. The money raised will contribute to supporting retired and incapacitated seafarers who have devoted their lives to the sea. Unfortunately they often retire on meagre incomes and rely on financial help from us to make their later years just a little more comfortable.”
An exhibition of Bishop’s work is being held at the Oxmarket Centre of Arts, off East Street, Chichester from Monday 21st March for two weeks. Opening times are Monday - Saturday 10am - 4.30pm.
The Shipwrecked Mariners Society received 744 new applications for assistance last year – the highest since 2005 - showing that help for this vulnerable community is much in demand, particularly in the current harsh economic environment.