14 Jun 2012
A beautiful and evocative painting of the harbour at West Wemyss by the Victorian painter Samuel Bough is to be offered at Bonhams Scottish Sale Part I in Edinburgh on 20 August. It is estimated at £30,000-50,000.
West Wemyss Harbour, Fife shows the arrival of fishing boats at sunrise as they would have looked in the mid 19th century (the painting is signed and dated 1854). It is one of at least three paintings Bough exhibited of the harbour at West Wemyss. He was particularly drawn to the Fife coast and images of Dysart, Anstruther, St Monance and St Andrews are among his most celebrated works. He loved the Fife fishermen with their superstitions, and was known to assume the dialect despite being born in Carlisle.
Bonhams Head of Pictures in Scotland, Chris Brickley, said, "Sam Bough had a huge affection for East Fife and it shines through in this wonderfully atmospheric and extremely well executed painting. It is not surprising that his work has become increasingly sought after."
The son of a shoemaker, Samuel Bough (he preferred the diminutive Sam) was born in Cumberland in 1822 but spent most of his working life in Scotland. Self taught, he worked principally as a theatre set painter until encouraged to take up landscape painting at which he quickly made his mark. By his mid 50s Bough was living in a 22 room house in Jordan Bank, Edinburgh with his wife but in true Bohemian fashion he continued to pursue a bachelor existence and had a number of mistresses. A drinking friend of Robert Louis Stevenson, he painted the house at Swanston where the writer spent several summers in the 1870s. Following Bough's death in 1878, Stevenson wrote an affectionate obituary tribute.