Jubilee Procession in a Cornish Village, A.G. Sherwood Hunter (1846-1919)
Oil on canvas, Newlyn School, June 1897. This painting is a wonderful record of a lantern procession held to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The women and girls in the procession, all dressed in white and carrying Chinese lanterns, are shown snaking their way through the Cornish fishing village of Newlyn. George Sherwood Hunter was born in Aberdeen and visited Newlyn around the turn of the century. He settled there permanently in 1902 where he taught alongside Stanhope and Elizabeth Forbes at the Newlyn School of Painting. Like many artists associated with the Newlyn School, Hunter was interested in depicting working people around the ports and villages of Cornwall. The painting underwent considerable conservation and restoration in 2010 which meant that, for the first time in over 100 years, the exquisitely painted faces of those in the procession could be seen in all their subtle glory. The delicate beauty in the children's faces is made more remarkable when one takes into consideration the very limited palette Hunter works with.
© RIC, photographer Mike Searle
Timber Barque off Pendennis, Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929)
Oil on canvas, Newlyn School, 1897. Henry Scott Tuke was born into a Quaker family in Lawrence Street, York. In 1859 the family moved to Falmouth, where his father Daniel Tuke , a physician, established a practice. Tuke was encouraged to draw and paint from an early age and some of his earliest drawings, aged four or five years old, were published in 1895. In 1875, he enrolled in the Slade School of Art. Initially his father paid for his tuition but in 1877 Tuke won a scholarship, which allowed him to continue his training at the Slade and in Italy in 1880. From 1881 to 1883 he was in Paris where he met the artist Jules Bastien-Lepage, who encouraged him to paint en plein air (in the open air) a method of working that came to dominate his practice. While studying in France, Tuke decided to move to Newlyn, Cornwall where many of his Slade and Parisian friends had already formed the Newlyn School of painters. He received several lucrative commissions there, after exhibiting his work at the Royal Academy of Art in London. In 1885, he returned to Falmouth where many of his major works were produced. He became an established artist and was elected to full membership of the Royal Academy in 1914. Tuke suffered a heart attack in 1928 and died in March 1929. In his will he left generous amounts of money to some of the men who, as boys, had been his models. Today he is remembered mainly for his oil paintings of young men, but in addition to his achievements as a figurative painter, he was an established maritime artist and produced as many portraits of sailing ships as he did human figures. He was a prolific artist, over 1,300 works are listed and more are still being discovered.
Irene, Bryan Pearce (1929-2007)
Oil on board, 1975. Bryan Pearce was born in St Ives in 1929 and suffered from the then unknown condition Phenylketonuria, which affects the normal development of the brain. Encouraged by his mother, the painter Mary Pearce, and then by other St Ives artists, he began drawing and painting in watercolours in 1953. His regular walks around St Ives, where he lived all his life, have been the inspiration for his subject matter, unconsciously recording the town's subtle changes. In this synthesis of imagination and reality, Pearce paints the world as he commands it; a sanctuary with an ever-present sun, bathing the streets and houses in the subtlest of colour harmonies. He worked slowly, but consistently, producing around twelve oil paintings a year. Often compared to Alfred Wallis, the late Peter Lanyon said of him: 'Because his sources are not seen with a passive eye, but are truly happenings, his painting is original'. His particular experiences of his hometown were captured with unique clarity. Pearce's artistic developments, his simple renditions of space, colour and light, evolve from a sophisticated understanding of composition. He had a career which spanned over fifty years, his paintings seem to evoke a serene sense of place, which seems at once personal yet archetypal. He is now recognised as one of the country's foremost 'naive' painters, through the re-examination of familiar views and landmarks, Pearce offers us his profound, extraordinary experience of St Ives.