A PAINTING depicting a dramatic RNLI rescue has been unearthed by a sharp-eyed antique dealer in Lymington.

Charles Wallrock who runs Wick Antiques in Lymington, spotted the Turner-esque artwork, initially believed to be of a fishing boat in Torquay, Devon or Italy.

After thorough research, he discovered it was a painting of the catastrophic event of November 2, 1861, where 24 lives were lost during a massive storm in North Yorkshire.

The painting shows the Scarborough lifeboat Amelia, on her maiden voyage, battling treacherous waters to save the schooner Coupland.

The scene turned tragic as the 32ft rescue boat was shattered against the harbour wall, resulting in the loss of two crew members and leaving others severely injured.

The spectacle was witnessed by hundreds from nearby slopes.

The painting shows the catastrophe (Image: Supplied) However, the crew of the Coupland was saved when a rocket was used to fling a line over the schooner, enabling the crew to scramble to safety.

Eight 'Saving Life at Sea' medals were awarded by the Board of Trade along with six RNLI medals and monetary grants after the event.

Mr Wallrock included the re-discovered, 22x30ins painting in his new book, 'Britain on the High Seas – Heroic Endeavour', which focuses on life-saving at sea and plans on donating a portion of its proceeds to the RNLI.

He said: "This watercolour was painted just four years after the disaster it depicts and it brings home the full horror of that day when waves were enormous and homes had their rooves ripped off by the storm.

"I saw it being offered for sale as a fishing boat and it was considered by many as either an Italian scene or in Devon because it has the word ‘Torquay’ written on it.

The painting features in his book  (Image: Supplied)

“But it is of Scarborough and shows the famous Italianate-looking Spa, and the ancient-looking building on the hill behind was a hotel.

"The scene was painted by Joseph Newington Carter."

The book also features items such as the archive of Sir Harold Dudley Clayton, who designed a steam-powered lifeboat for the RNLI and images of 19th century lifeboats in action. Mr Wallrock spoke about the RNLI saying: "My father raised money for the RNLI all his life, so have I, and my son is a volunteer and that is why I have spent years putting a high-quality collection together that features in my new book.

"The Carter painting really sums up everything noble about the RNLI and it was a scene played out around our coasts."