19th Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art
1 Mar 2017
London, New Bond Street

'When the Boats Come In' by the renowned Irish impressionist painter, Walter Osborne, leads Bonhams 19th Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art sale in London on Wednesday 1 March. It is estimated at £100,000-150,000.

Osborne was born in Dublin in 1859 and studied in his home city and in Antwerp. He spent most of the years 1884 – 1891 in England, and it was during that period that he painted When the Boats Come In. At the time he was living in Rye, a small coastal town in Sussex, and the present work is closely linked stylistically and in subject matter to another work he completed there, The Ferry. These, and other mid-career pictures such as Cherry Ripe and Boats in Rye Harbour, are regarded as among Osborne's finest.

The painting is carefully composed. Although Osborne painted landscapes and small studies direct from nature, he constructed his larger works from preliminary drawings and photographs. This was especially so with pictures intended for exhibition, such as When the Boats Come In.

Osborne died of pneumonia in Dublin in 1903. At only 43, he was seen by many as just approaching the peak of his artistic maturity. His works can be found in major collections in Ireland, including the Hugh Lane Gallery of Modern Art and the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. His paintings also hang in Tate Britain and the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Bonhams Director of 19th Century Paintings, Charles O'Brien said, "When the Boats Come In is a wonderful example of Osborne's English period. It has many of the details – grazing geese, fishermen and villagers at work, a basket of fish with some of them spilling onto the quay – that the artist loved to include in his paintings and which have made them so popular and sought-after at auction."


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  1. Charles O'Brien
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8360
    FaxFax: +44 20 7447 7434

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