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.
Bronze Incense Burner (Koro), Japan
This incense burner dates from around 1800 and is in the form of a Chinese boy (karako) reading a book. Karako is a Japanese term meaning 'Chinese child'. It generally refers to Chinese children as they are portrayed in Japanese art, though the literal translation specifically references the 'Tang children' of the Tang Dynasty [AD618-907]. The figures usually appear to be boys, wearing sets of conventional Chinese clothing and with their hair shaved and/or knotted in the traditional Tang style of this time. Karako are divine beings in Japanese mythology. They embody the innocence and joy of childhood and, as such, are often portrayed in scenarios where they are playing. Other interpretations find that karako are used to symbolise the wish to have a male successor who will gain high social status and also as a benevolent symbol which brings luck, happiness and prosperity. Gift of Alfred De Pass.
© RIC, photographer Mike Searle