Senior Sale Coordinator
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Senior Sale Coordinator
Henry Scott Tuke went to study painting in Florence at the Academy in November 1880, after he had just completed four years at the Slade school of Art in London. Whilst there he met Arthur Lemon (1850–1912) and William Heath Wilson (1849–1947) and in June 1881 they all went to the coast at Pietra Santa, near Forte dei Marmi, half way between Livorno and Spezia. They stayed in an inn run by the Tonnini family, a mother and father one son and seven daughters. Tuke and the other artists paid the local lads to pose for them and these two portraits, one of a boy in the straw hat and a man in a black hat, were done around Pietra Santa and Forte die Marmi on the Tuscan coast, before Tuke returned home on 11th July. After he left several of the boys wrote to him, according to his sister Maria addressing him as "Stimatissimo Signor Enrico" – "Highly Esteemed Mr. Henry", and Tuke wrote back in Italian addressing them by their first names such as Aristide, Oreste, Egidio, Lorenzo and Canfino.
Mrs. Elizabeth Fouracre, who was Tuke's housekeeper at Pennance cottage in Falmouth posed occasionally for him. Her most prominent role was in his painting 'The Message', 1890, R52 (Falmouth Art gallery). She also posed for a painting called 'Picking Carnations', 1890 (R134) that shows her standing in the garden at Pennance cottage. It is therefore likely that this study of her in the garden was painted around this time. It shows the sea and Pendennis Castle visible on the headland in the background. Mrs. Fouracre remained Tuke's housekeeper until her death in 1916. Pennance cottage was owned by the Fox family and was part of what had been a silver mine at Pennance point. Tuke rented rooms there from 1885 until his death in 1929. Tuke loved gardens and one of his favourite flowers to grow were carnations. There is a watercolour of this exact same painting of Mrs. Fouracre in the garden at Pennance Cottage by Maria Tuke Sainsbury inscribed M.T.S after H.S.Tuke. Although Maria, Tuke's sister, was not allowed to pursue her artistic talent professionally, she kept up her interest by producing watercolours on a modest scale and found her brother a constant source of inspiration.
We are grateful to Catherine Wallace for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.