Henry Scott Tuke ๐Ÿ–ผ๐Ÿ–Œ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐ŸŽจ

Celebrating the 164th anniversary of Henry Scott Tukeโ€™s birth

A photographic portrait of Henry Scott Tuke

Henry Scott Tuke was a British impressionist painter of the late 19th and early 20th century. He is best known for his paintings depicting Cornish landscapes, often with nudes in the foreground. Tuke was born in London on 13 June 1858. His father was a clerk at the War Office and his mother came from an artistic family. His maternal grandfather, George Tinworth, was a sculptor who exhibited at the Royal Academy and his aunt, Helen Tinworth, studied under J. L. David and became a painter of portraits and flowers. Tuke’s family moved to Cornwall when he was about five years old because his father had been appointed as secretary to Sir William Hillary’s Commission on Fisheries at Newlyn which had been set up to help revive the failing fishing industry there following Napoleonic wars.

Italian Landscape, Henry Scott Tuke, 1881

In Cornwall, Henry Scott Tuke became a painter and printmaker who was best known for his impressionist landscape and seascape paintings. He was a member of the Newlyn school, which was an artistic movement in Cornwall during the late 19th century, inspired by the French impressionist and their en plain air painting. Tuke’s work is characterized by its sensuous, erotic and picturesque qualities. He often painted nude figures in outdoor scenes with a strong emphasis on light and color. His best-known works are The Beach at Newlyn and An Erotic Landscape.

French Barque in Falmouth Bay, Henry Scott Tuke, 1902

Although he was quite appreciate in life asa seascape and portrait painter, his fame almost completely vanished after his death in 1929. It was only towards the 1970s there was a revival of his artistic production. The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society owns a collection that amounts to a total of 279 works by the artist and is his most important collection by a publicly owned institution, most of which were donated by a single collector in 1960, but the Society maintains a policy of acquisitions and additions. Elton John notoriously owns a rich collection of his paintings.

August, by Henry Scott Tuke, 1893-94, Tate Britain
The Critics, by Henry Scott Tuke, 1927

From the point of view of his technique, Tuke preferred the wide raw and most visible brushstrokes, this at a time when the smoothest, glossiest and most refined finish was the one widely preferred and suggested by fashionable painters and critics of that period. Endowed with a strong sense of colour, excellent in the representation of natural light, in particular the softer and sweeter one coming from the fragile sun of the English summer; although he has often finished his paintings in the studio, photographic evidence shows that he worked mainly en plein air, thus best representing the freshness of colour and the realistic effects of sunlight reflected on the sea and on the bare flesh of his models.

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