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
The Clay Pit, Harold Harvey (1874-1941)
Oil on canvas, Newlyn School, 1923. View of Leswidden China Clay Works near St Just. This painting shows the harsh, labour-intensive working conditions of a china clay pit. Leswidden China Clay Works, near St Just, was a more primitive works than the larger, more mechanised works in the St Austell area. The pit was closed before 1942. Harold Harvey was one of the few successful artists of the period who was born and raised in Cornwall. He grew up surrounded by the industry he would later paint and counted many of the working people he depicted as friends. He originally studied under Norman Garstin, but also visited Paris as a young man where he was greatly influenced by the Post-Impressionist movement. His earlier work was very much influenced by Stanhope Forbes, though it changed as he grew older, his brushwork becoming less thick and his forms more simple. Some of his later work shows a period stylisation but without the Picasso influences of his contemporaries Ernest and Dod Procter. Harvey continued to work right up to his death in 1941.
The Ringers of Launcells Tower, Frederick Smallfield (1829-1915)
Oil on canvas, English School, 1887. This painting was inspired by the poem 'The Ringers of Launcells Tower' by Rev. R.S. Hawker of Morwenstow in his book 'Cornish Ballads and Other Poems'. In this poem, the bell ringers who rang at the accession of George III in 1760 were still alive to ring at his golden jubilee in 1810. The church of Launcells is midway between Stratton and Bude. The picture was painted 77 years after George III's golden jubilee and so is a total reconstruction. There is, therefore, no possibility that the figures are actual portraits of the 1810 ringers. Nevertheless, Smallfield had visited the church tower before he started the painting but made certain alterations to the layout for artistic reasons. He also studied the bell ringers at his local church in Willesden, north west London, to get the action and the angle of the ropes correct. A watercolour version of this painting was exhibited at the Watercolour Society in 1878. Frederick Smallfield studied at the Royal Academy and subsequently exhibited there several times. He lived for most of his life in London and at Lee-on-Solent in Hampshire.