There are a considerable number of well-known painters who are said to have joined the artists’ colony. I am talking today about the artists who worked there for several consecutive years before the place was “known”, that is to say, before it was flooded with painters and speculative building.
After that time, the “swells” came down for holidays, calling themselves artists, taking all the available lodgings, and almost crowding out the working artists. As a result, the character of the little fishing port was changed for ever.
It was two artists from Birmingham that first discovered Newlyn. Why Newlyn? The longing for clean air and light saw the flowering of painting “en plein air” movement in England. In the early 1880s, it was becoming fashionable to paint in this manner (but also daring and rebellious), where the object was to paint natural colours and tones directly from life, with the inherent problems of the changing light through the days and seasons, and with the practicalities of carrying easels, canvases and equipment to the chosen subject.
As Norman Garstin said, “your work could not be any good unless you caught a cold doing it”.
These are artists of the Newlyn School in order of their arrival there.
Walter Langley, 1852-1922
The artist in his studio
Son of a Birmingham tailor, he arrived in Newlyn in 1881 after training at South Kensington where he studied design. He recorded life in the fishing community, painting, unusually, mainly in watercolour. He was politically left wing and was noted for his socialist/realist portrayals of working-class figures, mainly fishermen and their families.
In 1878 he was invited to hang a self-portrait in The Uffizi to hang alongside Raphael, Rubens and Rembrandt in their collection of great artists.
Walter Langley, Carrying the Catch
Walter Langley, The Fisherman, 1891
Walter Langley, The Greeting, 1904
Walter Langley, A Cornish Village Maiden, 1883
Walter Langley, Among the Missing, 1883
Walter Langley, Between the Tides, 1901
Walter Langley, Touch of a Vanished Hand, 1888
Walter Langley, Waiting for the Boats, 1885
Edwin Harris, 1855-1906
Stanhope Forbes, Portrait of Edwin Harris, 1890
Born in Ladywood, Birmingham. Studied at BSA where Walter Langley was also a student. They were to remain lifelong friends. After BSA attended Veriat’s Academy, Antwerp.
Arrived in Newlyn 1883, staying for twelve years. He interpreted his surroundings with a lighter touch than his friend Langley.
After leaving Newlyn he set up his own studio in Birmingham where he concentrated mainly on portraiture.
Edwin Harris, Apple Blossom
Edwin Harris, Under the Cornish Cliffs
Edwin Harris, Fisherman
Edwin Harris, An Old Fisherman
Edwin Harris, The Lesson
Edwin Harris, Mother & Daughter Reading a Book
Edwin Harris, A Pinch of Snuff
Edwin Harris, Gathering Sticks
Ralph Todd, 1856-1932
Moved to Newlyn in 1883. As a painter, he struggled. Some charming works, but others downright poor.
Ralph Todd, Primrose Day
Leghe Suthers, 1855-1929
Very little recorded of his life. Clearly, he spent a considerable amount of time in Newlyn, bu the dates are unknown.
Leghe Suthers, Newlyn, from Audit Lane, c1886
Fred Hall, 1860-1948
Studied at Lincoln School of Art before Veriat’s Academy in Antwerp. Arrived in Newlyn about 1883 to 85, and stayed until 1898.
Fred Hall, A Newlyn Cottage, c1910
Stanhope Alexander Forbes, RA, 1857-1947
Son of an English railway manager. Studied at Lambeth School of Art and the RA Schools.
Arrived in Newlyn in 1884, and is sometimes known as “the father of the Newlyn School”.
In 1889, he married his second wife Elizabeth Armstrong, also an artist (see below)
Died in Newlyn and buried nearby in Sancreed churchyard.
Stanhope Forbes, Mousehole, near Newlyn, 1919
Frank Bramley, 1857-1915
Like Fred Hall, he studied at Lincoln School of Art and Antwerp. He arrived in Newlyn in 1884.
In contrast to most of the Newlyn colony, he painted many interiors.
He was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy. He left Newlyn in 1895 and settled in Grasmere.
Frank Bramley, Eyes and no Eyes, or The Hopeless Dawn, 1887, Tate, London
Percy Robert Craft, 1856-1934
Arrived in Newlyn in 1885 and left in 1899.
Attended UCL and the Heatherley’s and the Slade.
Percy Craft, Tucking a School of Pilchards, 1897
Thomas Cooper Gotch, 1854-1931
The son of a shoemaker, he studied in London and Antwerp, and arrived in Newlyn in 1887. Painted naturalistic pastoral scenes before immersing himself in the Pre-Raphaelite school, and is best known for his work at that period.
Like Forbes, he was also buried in Sancreed churchyard.
Thomas Gotch, Portrait of Phyllis Gotch
Albert Chevallier Tayler, 1862-1925
Studied at Heatherley’s School of Art and the RA Schools.
He arrived in Newlyn in 1884 and stayed twelve years.
Albert Tayler, Feeding Time, 1888
Henry Edward Detmold, 1859-1921
Born into a merchant family of German origin. He came to Newlyn in 1885, after studying in Düsseldorf, Brussels, Munich and Paris? Specialised in Landscape and marine subjects.
He was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.
Henry Detmold, An Old Fisherman
Frank Wright Bourdillon, 1851-1929
Born in India. Studied at the Slade and later in Paris. He arrived in Newlyn in 1887, and after five years he returned to India as a Christian missionary.
He used the “square brush technique”, where the flat of the brush is used to lay down squarish strokes of colour directly on to the canvas, unblended, in the form of a jigsaw puzzle.
Frank Bourdillon, The Jubilee Hat, 1887
Elizabeth Forbes (née Armstrong), 1859-1912.
A Canadian, she married Stanhope Forbes (above) in 1889. Having studied at South Kensington, now the Royal College of Art, she became an artist of considerable merit.
Elizabeth Forbes, School’s Out, 1889
William Banks Fortescue, 1850-1924
Also from Birmingham. He studied in Paris and Venice. Not very prolific, but. exhibited surprisingly frequently.
William Fortescue, Old Newlyn Harbour
Norman Garstin, 1847-1926
Studied in Antwerp and Paris.
Contributed greatly to the “Newlyn experience”.
Norman Garstin, In a Cottage
MH, Meeting No27, 16 October, 2018