William Banks Fortescue (English, 1850-1924) The model lifeboat (to be sold with a letter from the artist addressed to the original owner)
Lot 102
William Banks Fortescue
(English, 1850-1924)
The model lifeboat
£ 8,000 - 12,000
US$ 11,000 - 17,000

Lot Details
William Banks Fortescue (English, 1850-1924) The model lifeboat (to be sold with a letter from the artist addressed to the original owner) William Banks Fortescue (English, 1850-1924) The model lifeboat (to be sold with a letter from the artist addressed to the original owner)
William Banks Fortescue (English, 1850-1924)
The model lifeboat
signed 'W.B.FORTESCUE-' (lower right)
oil on canvas
58.4 x 81.3cm (23 x 32in).
to be sold with a letter from the artist addressed to the original owner

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The artist.
    Private collection, UK (acquired directly from the above).
    Thence by descent.

    Exhibited
    London, Royal Academy, 1889, no. 119.

    William Banks Fortescue was living and working in Southport when the present lot was painted, as was common amongst many members of the Birmingham school - before they departed to a seaside destination.

    According to a letter from the artist, the old fisherman depicted, rigging the boat, was painted from a life boatman who was well known. In his time he helped to save around 180 lives. The small boy next to him was his grandson.

    The model lifeboat is inscribed on the side 'Sister's Memorial' and may refer to two possible lifeboats launched from Llandudno, North Wales. The first was a gift from Misses Brown of Liverpool, who were regular visitors to the seaside destination and had recently suffered the loss of their sister. On the 11th January 1861 it arrived, it was 32 feet long and powered by ten oarsmen. This was the first lifeboat in North Wales. In 1867, the Coxswain suggested a lifeboat was needed with a greater beam and the second 'Sister's Memorial' was launched. This boat served the town for 20 years.

    Fortescue has depicted the lifeboat on a cart, as it would have been resting before it was launched, the cart allowing a team of horses to transport it to the beach. Using a system of pulleys it would then be anchored out in the bay.

    The scene is set and transports us to the room; a smouldering cigar rests to the right of the fisherman, a plume of smoke rising upwards. The tools of his trade are present, the white sail ready to be fitted. His kind face and focus creates a sense of calm and the slow pace of the task is evident in the young boy's pose, as he sits, half eaten apple discarded and watches patiently.

    The present lot was first exhibited in 1889 at the Royal Academy and from the artist to the present owner, has remained in the same private family collection.
Activities
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    Specialist - 19th Century Paintings
    Bonhams
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