HENRY SCOTT TUKE (1855-1928)
Signed and dated 1892 (possibly amended from 1890, see footnote below), oil on canvas
80 x 44.5cm.
Exhibited: Plymouth, Harris's, 1890; London, The New Gallery, Summer Exhibition, 1894, label on frame; Manchester City Art Gallery, 1895
This painting features Elizabeth Jane Fouracre (1857 - 1916), standing in the walled garden at Pennance Cottage, Swanpool in Falmouth. Falmouth bay and the Roseland peninsula with St. Antony's lighthouse are visible in the distance.
Mrs Elizabeth Fouracre was the artist Henry Scott Tuke's housekeeper at Pennance Cottage from 1885 until her death in 1916. Tuke rented the cottage from the Fox family who were Quakers like his family.
This picture was painted in the summer of 1890 according to Tuke's register of paintings but altered in 1892. It would have been painted outdoors and it shows Tuke's lively brushwork but with close attention to detail in the rendering of the hands and face. He originally sold it to his artist friends William Ayerst Ingram and John Eva Downing for £30 in a lot worth £80, but he then puts in brackets "(not paid) This bargain was annulled and I took them back." Ingram and Downing were later to establish the first Falmouth Art Gallery with Tuke in 1894.
Tuke then exhibited the picture at Harris's in Plymouth in 1890, and at Manchester City Art Gallery in 1895. He then sold it to a W.H.Wood of Lindley, Huddersfield. According to Maria Tuke Sainsbury's autobiography of her brother's life and work, he also exhibited the painting in London at the New Gallery in April 1894 where it was hung "on the line" (`Henry Scott Tuke; A Memoir' by Maria Tuke Sainsbury, published by Martin Secker 1933 page 111)
The next painting listed in Tuke's register also dated summer 1890 is a rare still life of the carnations that Mrs Fouracre was about to pick in this picture, now in the RCPS Tuke collection managed by Falmouth Art Gallery. Tuke loved gardens and carnations were his favourite flowers.
Tuke undertook another painting featuring Elizabeth Fouracre, this time with her two sons Georgie and Richard in 1890 titled, 'The Message' is also in Falmouth Art Gallery's collection.
Both 'Picking Carnations' and 'The Message' reflect Tuke's connection with the Newlyn School in their subject matter of a female servant in a rural community, a theme frequently used by his fellow Newlyn painters such as Walter Langley.
The paintings of Elizabeth Fouracre reflect a period of domestic peace and calm for Tuke at Pennance Cottage. The previous family, the Jewells, who had lived there had left in March 1887, much to Tuke's relief and Mrs Fouracre made Tuke feel "as if I had a home to go to." Maria, Tuke's sister, described Mrs Fouracre as, " the most devoted and faithful housekeeper a man ever had." ('Henry Scott Tuke; A Memoir' by Maria Tuke Sainsbury, published by Martin Secker 1933 page 84)
We are very grateful to Catherine Wallace for her assistance with the cataloguing of this picture.
£18000 - £25000