Georgie & Richard signed with initials and dated 'H.S.T. 89' (lower centre), also inscribed with title (lower centre) oil on canvas 36 x 51cm (14 3/16 x 20 1/16in).
EXHIBITED: Lincoln, The Usher Art Gallery, 1965, Henry Scott Tuke RA, RWS (18581929)
LITERATURE: Catherine Wallace, Catching the Light: The Art and Life of Henry Scott Tuke, Edinburh, 2008, cat. no 44., illus. p.58. Tuke register no R1239.
This is a delightful study of the two sons of Henry Scott Tuke's housekeeper Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Fouracre (18571916). Georgie (christened George) was born in 1883 and was 6 years old in this painting. He was the older of the two and is pictured on the right whilst Richard, who was born in 1884, is on the left looking somewhat askance at his older brother. This painting implies a sense of sibling rivalry. Judging by the loose brushwork, Tuke had to work quickly to capture the cheeky looking chaps, before they moved.
This painting shows the two boys having a meal at the kitchen table in Pennance cottage in Swanpool Falmouth, where Tuke rented rooms and where Mrs. Fouracre kept house. Tuke moved in to the cottage in 1885 when another family called Jewells lived there and created much trouble, apparently causing the Fouracres to leave. When the Jewells finally left in 1887, Tuke wrote to his sister, "We are all delighted to get rid of the Jewells and to have the Fouracres back". But the Fouracres as a family were not without their problems. The father, George Fouracre, was disruptive and according to Tuke had a drink problem. Tuke was greatly relieved when, after a row, he ejected the father from the house in 1903, and it appears he did not return.
This painting is a study for Tuke's Royal Academy picture of 1890, The Message R52 (Falmouth Art Gallery), which is set in a room at Pennance cottage and features Mrs. Fouracre and her two sons. Georgie is seated at the table once again and Richard is gazing up at the local postman William Martin.
Georgie Fouracre went on to appear in fourteen other paintings by Tuke over the next fifteen years, notably Mid-day Rest, 1897, Summer Evening, 1901, Ruby, Gold and Malachite, 1901 (Guildhall Art Gallery, London), Noonday Heat, 1902/3 (RCPS Tuke Collection, Falmouth) and To the Morning Sun, 1904, (Hugh Lane Art Gallery, Dublin).
When Tuke died in 1929 he left £25 (approximately £800 in today's money) to both Georgie and Richard in his will. Georgie died in January 1947 and was an Army pensioner as he had served in the First World War. Richard, who remained in Falmouth, married and had ten children, died in 1966.
We are grateful to Catherine Wallace and Kathy Cortez for their assistance in cataloguing this lot.