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Lot 169
Henry Scott Tuke, RA, RWS
(British, 1858-1929)
Looking out to sea
25 January 2012, 14:00 GMT
London, New Bond Street

Sold for £27,500 inc. premium

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Henry Scott Tuke, RA, RWS (British, 1858-1929)

Looking out to sea
signed with initials and dated 'H.S.T. 85' (lower right); inscribed 'no.1' in pencil verso, also inscribed 'for E J Mercer' in pencil verso
oil on panel
22.5 x 14cm (8 7/8 x 5 1/2in).


This is a rare early oil study by Henry Scott Tuke of his model Walter Shilling on the beach at Pennance, where Tuke lived in Falmouth. Tuke had come to settle in Falmouth in 1885 after living in Newlyn for a while. He had grown up in Falmouth as a child and felt that he was coming home, even though he was born in York.

Walter Shilling was a professional model from London and posed for several of Tuke's early Falmouth paintings; they included, Two Falmouth Fisher Boys R53 and his first bathing boys painting The Bathers R56 as well as Basking R57. All were painted in the summer of 1885 in Falmouth. But it was for the painting Basking, that Walter is posed wearing exactly the same clothes and hat as in this painting of him looking out to sea, and it suggests that this is a study for the bigger painting, even though he is depicted reclining rather than standing in the larger work. (See illustration of Basking on p.39 of Catching the Light: The Art and Life of Henry Scott Tuke by Catherine Wallace).

In this painting, Tuke captures the choppy sea, showing the white water of the surf as it lands on the beach, and with passing boats and ships in full sail on the horizon, he creates a great sense of movement in the picture. The lively quick brushwork, shows the immediacy of Tuke's painting technique, which was done en plein air, like so many of his outdoor pictures, and places him firmly in the circle of British Impressionists.

Walter Shilling was a cockney lad and although Tuke was impressed with him as a model, he wrote to his sister, "Shilling is a good lad – I sometimes tire of his company and hate his cockneyisms worse and worse. He is pretty cheeky but we have to be very free in this kind of life." Maria Tuke Sainsbury, H.S.Tuke A Memoir, p.77.

We are grateful to Catherine Wallace for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.

Additional information