Sir William Samuel Henry Llewellyn, PRA, RBA, RI (British, 1858-1941) A summer's day on the coast

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Lot 87
Sir William Samuel Henry Llewellyn, PRA, RBA, RI
(British, 1858-1941)
A summer's day on the coast

£ 2,000 - 3,000
US$ 2,600 - 3,900
Sir William Samuel Henry Llewellyn, PRA, RBA, RI (British, 1858-1941)
A summer's day on the coast
signed 'W.Llewellyn' (lower left)
oil on canvas
89 x 59cm (35 1/16 x 23 1/4in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Private collection, Italy.

    Like Frank Brangwyn, Ernest Dade, Jacomb Hood and other members of the Chelsea artists' colony based in Manresa Road in the late 1880s, Llewellyn was peripatetic. The evidence supplied by picture titles places him at Southwold, St Ives, Padstow, Whitby and on the Beauly Firth near Inverness. Only one or two of these painting expeditions can be securely dated and a number of studies have yet to be identified with specific locations. The present example is one of these. Problems are compounded by the fact that the painter, like his Walberswick contemporary, Philip Wilson Steer, seems capable of working in different styles at the same time. Having broken with his family to become an artist, this future President of the Royal Academy, must in those early years, make his own way in the world, and his primary focus was on securing a reputation as a portrait painter.

    Unlike Steer, extant coastal studies are rare and while important plein air figure-pieces such as Summertime by the Sea (sold in these rooms, 14 March 2018), can be placed in their appropriate historical context, works such as A summer's day on the coast are more difficult. Here we rely completely on one or two smaller works such as Southwold Beach, c 1886, (also sold in these rooms, 14 March 2018) to propose comparisons in the handling of foreground weeds and grasses. As a result, it is tempting to place the present stretch of coastline in East Anglia, sometime in the late 1880s when it seems that the landscape was first worked in pastel on paper (sold Christie's, South Kensington, 24 July 2005).

    What remains striking about the picture however, is its unusual format. It is essentially a sky-scape, rather than a landscape. In this – as in Southwold Beach – the spectre of Constable hangs over the scene in huge clouds that echo the master's Weymouth Bay, 1816 (National Gallery, London).

    We are grateful to Professor Kenneth McConkey for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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