Albert Chevallier Tayler, RBC (British, 1862-1925) The council of three
Lot 96
Albert Chevallier Tayler, RBC
(British, 1862-1925)
The council of three
Sold for £118,850 (US$ 199,559) inc. premium
Lot Details
Albert Chevallier Tayler, RBC (British, 1862-1925)
The council of three
signed 'A.CHEVALLIER TAYLER. 1888' (lower left), inscribed with artist's address on a fragment of an old label on the reverse
oil on canvas
66.5 x 97.5cm (26 3/16 x 38 3/8in).


    Purchased by the father of the present owner in the 1930s
    Thence by descent

    London, Dudley Gallery, New English Art Club Exhibition, 1888, no.56

    The present work is an important re-discovery. A spectacular example of Tayler's early use of a square-brush technique, A Council of Three is characteristic of many of the naturalist ambitions of the Newlyn School.

    Tayler was born in Leytonstone, into a family of modest means, and won a scholarship to the Slade in 1879. Like many of his contemporaries, he furthered his education at the famous Paris ateliers of Laurens and Carolus Duran. Tayler arrived in Newlyn in September 1884, taking lodgings at Bellvue, where Stanhope Forbes and Blandford Fletcher were already settled. He came and went over the next ten years, with Forbes' letters noting with sadness each departure, and greeting each return with excitement. Tayler was clearly a popular and gregarious member of the community: Forbes described him as 'a ray of sunshine in the house' while Frank Bourdillon noted 'Tayler is much occupied in Penzance and has the faculty of making himself so popular that he is out nearly every evening'. 1

    Tayler showed his first work at the Royal Academy in 1884, his first critical success coming with Bless, O God, these gifts to our use (RA, 1887), a work reminiscent of Bramley's Hopeless Dawn. Forbes was a great champion of the work, believing Tayler had finally found his direction, and that perhaps now he would be more successful in selling his work. 2

    By 1888, the year in which the present lot was painted, there was a significant increase of critical interest in the group, following a number of successful Royal Academy exhibitions, most notably Stanhope Forbes' A Village Philarmonic, Frank Bramley's iconic A Hopeless Dawn and Tayler's own A Dress Rehearshal. By this time Tayler had established himself as a leading exponent and 'sympathetic observer of the wives and children of Newlyn fishermen' 3. A Council of Three can be closely related to a number of the artist's other interiors from the late 1880s, such as The house of Cards (1888, Christie's New York, 22 October, 1997, lot 138), the aforementioned A Dress Rehearsal-the success of which, Kenneth McConkey suggests, may have influenced Forbes to paint Health of the Bride (RA 1889)4- and Confidences (RA 1889)

    Tayler chose to exhibit The Council of Three at the third annual exhibition of the New English Art Club, which had been founded in 1886, in opposition to the Royal Academy. The Club, whose manifesto cited '50 Members, who are more or less united in their art sympathies'5 was a forum for the growing number of advocates of French naturalism (indeed one of the early suggested names for the club was 'Society of Anglo-French Painters'). Tayler's technical methods - notably his use of a square-brush to apply paint in a systematic manner- were concordant with many of the other paintings shown in the early years of the NEAC. The early exhibitions included works such as La Thangue's In the Dauphine and George Clausen's The Stone Pickers, and as McConkey comments 'For La Thangue, as for Stanhope Forbes, Frank Bramley, Albert Chevallier Tayler, Tuke and Clausen, a set of technical procedures had become a way of re-enforcing solidarity6.

    This would be Tayler's last NEAC exhibit, however; by 1888, with the Club's sympathies moving towards the Impressionists (both with loans of French Impressionist paintings, and with an influx of artists from the Society of British Artists, such as Walter Sickert) works such as The Council of Three and Clausen's Gathering Potatoes would look increasingly out of place7. Indeed, Tayler's own style moved away from the pure naturalism of the Newlyn artists, and the subjects of his exhibited works increasingly reflected his Roman Catholic beliefs. By 1895, Tayler had left Newlyn and 'silently stolen up to Kensington'8. He continued to exhibit at the RA until his death in 1926.

    1Caroline Fox & Francis Greenacre, Painting in Newlyn 1880-1930 Exhibition catalogue, p. 71
    2 Ibid
    3 Kenneth McConkey, Note to auction catalogue, Christie's New York, 22 October, 1997, lot 138.
    4. Ibid
    5 Kenneth McConkey, The New English, London, 2006, p. 32
    6.) Ibid, p. 29
    7 Ibid, p.47
    8Caroline Fox & Francis Greenacre, Painting in Newlyn 1880-1930 Exhibition catalogue, p. 71
  1. Sam Travers
    Specialist - 19th Century Paintings
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
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