Green Waters, Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929)
Oil on canvas, Newlyn School, late 19th / early 20th century. A man sculling in a small boat. 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.
House in the Trees at Hampstead, John Constable (1776-1837)
Oil on board, English School, 1821. John Constable was the son of wealthy miller in Bergholt, Suffolk. His family did not approve of his vocation as an artist but he joined the Royal Academy Schools as a student in 1799. From 1802 until around 1820 his paintings mostly featured the landscape of Suffolk, a number of which were made by sketching in oils, which had been popular among young English landscape artists since before 1800. Constable took this quick and direct method of painting and developed it into a tool of great range and refinement. The most famous example of work from this Suffolk-based phase is The Hay Wain (1821), which was in fact painted in the studio. Constable was elected to the Royal Academy in 1819 and from then onwards based himself in London and Hampstead. In 1829 he was made a full Academician and the last years of his life were spent consolidating his reputation as one of Britain's foremost landscape painters. House in the Trees at Hampstead is a study of trees made against the sky and it is one of several that the artist made shortly after he settled permanently in Hampstead with his family. It is unclear whether these sketches resulted in a finished work or whether he employed the tree and cloud studies in these sketches for a painting somewhere else.