Sir William Samuel Henry Llewellyn PRA, RBA, RI (British, 1858-1941)
St Ives at dusk, looking eastwards across the bay oil on canvas 40.5 x 61cm (15 15/16 x 24in).
PROVENANCE: Private collection, Somerset Sale, Lawrences of Crewkerne, 16 October 2009, lot 3093 (sold for £16,700) Private collection, Devon
This superb and highly atmospheric study of the harbour entrance, shows John Smeaton's pier and lighthouse (built 1770) in the foreground and the Godrevy lighthouse, on Godrevy Island, glowing in the distance at the eastern extremity of St. Ives Bay.
Llewellyn's visit(s) to St Ives have been difficult to pin down as he does not get mentioned in the normal sources the local paper's Visitors Lists (post 5/1889), the Arts Club Visitors Book (post 8/1890) or the extant Rate Books (1886, 1888, 1893-4). However, David Tovey has recently unearthed an extract from the St. Ives Weekly Summary, from which it appears that Llewellyn lodged with fellow artsits at Albany House from early September to early October 1891.
For another view of St. Ives by Llewellyn, see Christie's London, 5th June, 2008 (Lot 13), 16 x 20 in. (40.6 x 50.8 cm.), sold £11,250. The painting sold at Christies showed Smeaton's Pier prior to its extension in the years 1888-90, whilst our picture shows the new lighthouse on the end of the extension and therefore will post date 1890. Accordingly, there may be a possibility that it is one of the works that he exhibited at the RBA in 1892. These were St Ives Pier, A Cornish Fisherman and Twilight: St Ives, Cornwall. These are the only St Ives subjects exhibited by Llewellyn.
In the 1880s, Llewellyn painted in a 'square brush' technique, in common with many artists of the Newlyn School and Glasgow Boys. Later in his career he produced a small number of these beautiful, atmospheric pictures, obviously influenced by Whistler. Stylistically, a very similar picture, titled ,'At Whitby -Evening' was sold Bonhams, 25th Nov 2008, lot 425, signed and dated '92, 52.8 x 73.3cm (20 13/16 x 28 7/8in) which was exhibited at the Royal Society of British Artists, 1893, number 158.
We are grateful to Mr. David Tovey for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.