The oil on canvas depicts a fishing boat in the North Sea with a squall approaching. Signed and dated 1850, it is offered for £2400 in its original gilt frame, probably by the Norwich frame maker Townshend.
Priest was trained as a chemist, his father’s profession, but left home and spent some time at sea before returning to England to study etching under Henry Ninham and James Stark. He specialised in marine paintings and was particularly noted for his depictions of water and waves.
An exhibitor at the Royal Society of British Artists and the Royal Academy, he was a friend of Miles Edmund Cotman, eldest son of John Sell Cotman, and the two are believed to have worked closely together for a period. Priest died aged 40 – in the same year this painting was completed – of tuberculosis.
English and Continental Antiques is in the Suffolk market town of Eye and the exhibition includes a selection of 18th and 19th century works by Norwich School artists, 18th century Lowestoft porcelain and other local antiques. It runs for a month from November 17.
The show includes a talk on the evening of November 16 on the importance of travel for artists’ inspiration and the role of preparatory works in the process of oil painting.