Albert Chevallier Tayler, RBC (British, 1862-1925) Bless, O God, these Thy gifts to our use  25 1/2 x 36 1/4in (65 x 92cm)

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Lot 88
Albert Chevallier Tayler, RBC
(British, 1862-1925)
Bless, O God, these Thy gifts to our use 25 1/2 x 36 1/4in (65 x 92cm)

Sold for US$ 60,000 inc. premium
Albert Chevallier Tayler, RBC (British, 1862-1925)
Bless, O God, these Thy gifts to our use
signed and dated 'A. CHEVALLIER TAYLER./1887.' (lower left)
oil on canvas
25 1/2 x 36 1/4in (65 x 92cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    with Arthur Tooth, 1887.
    Private collection, Long Island, New York.

    Exhibited
    London, Royal Academy, 1887, no. 601

    Literature
    Alice Meynell, 'Newlyn' Art Journal, 1889. p.99
    Caroline Fox & Francis Greenacre, Painting in Newlyn 1880-1930, Exhibition catalogue, p.71

    The present lot is a major example of Chevallier Tayler's square-brush painting, from the artist's most important period. Produced in Newlyn, Cornwall, during the winter of 1886/87, the work was the artist's first major critical success, and was hung in a prodigious place at the Royal Academy summer exhibition of 1887. Stanhope Forbes, the father of the Newlyn school, was a great champion of the work, believing that Tayler had finally found his direction, and that perhaps now he would be more successful in selling his paintings. Indeed, the work was purchased by the dealer Arthur Tooth for £70, who also sponsored Tayler to spend the Summer of 1887 painting in Venice.

    Tayler was born in Leytonstone, into a family of modest means, and won a scholarship to the Slade in 1879. Like many of his contemporaries, he furthered his education at the famous Paris ateliers of Laurens and Carolus Duran. Tayler arrived in Newlyn in September 1884, taking lodgings at Bellvue, where Stanhope Forbes and Blandford Fletcher were already settled. He came and went over the next ten years, with Forbes' letters noting with sadness each departure, and greeting each return with excitement. Tayler was clearly a popular and gregarious member of the community: Forbes described him as 'a ray of sunshine in the house' while Frank Bourdillon noted 'Tayler is much occupied in Penzance and has the faculty of making himself so popular that he is out nearly every evening'.

    It is interesting to note that the present lot predates Frank Bramley's now iconic Newlyn painting Hopeless Dawn, (RA 1888), with which it shares many compositional similarities. The success Bramley's work, purchased for the nation by Chantrey Bequest, brought increased critical attention to the Newlyn artists. For Alice Meynell, writing in the Art Journal in 1889, Bless, O God, these Thy gifts to our use is 'removed from the fictions of the studio', a typical example of how the Newlyn painters 'prove their love of truth' by painting from life, using local characters for their models, and local homes as the settings for their works. The critical success of the painting seems to have invigorated Tayler, and in the following year he produced a small number of important interiors, which are among his finest paintings; works such as The council of three (NEAC, 1888, sold Bonhams London, 23 January 2013, lot 96), A Dress Rehearsal (RA, 1888) and The house of Cards (1888), which are all painted in sympathy with the principles of the Newyln school.

    While the composition of the present lot has echoes of the work of Bramley, Forbes and Walter Langley, Tayler's choice of subject also reflects the artists' religious faith. Tayler's insistence on attending church on Sundays was seen by Forbes as his 'only weak point', and by the 1890s the artist's choice of subjects had become increasingly Catholic; by 1895 he had left Newlyn for good, returning to live and work in London, where he continued to exhibit until the early 1900s.
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