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Henry Scott Tuke painting of Falmouth model fetches £16,250 at auction

By WBgdavies  |  Posted: January 28, 2013

tuke

The oil painting by Falmouth artist Henry Scott depicts a naked man on a beach

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An oil painting depicting a naked man on a beach by renowned Falmouth artist Henry Scott Tuke sold at auction for £16,250.

Before the sale at Bonhams in London the picture, called A Bather, has been expected to fetch between £10,000 and £15,000.

The painting features Charlie Mitchell, a boilermaker from Merrill Place, who features in a number of Tuke paintings and was one of his favourite models.

He also features in The Three Companions, The Gully and Comrades, which are owned by Sir Elton John.

Charlie was born in Falmouth in 1885 and was Tuke's boatman, regularly rowing the artist in the white boat (featured in the painting) to various beaches around Falmouth.

Although the painting is not dated, auctioneers Bonhams suggest it was produced in or around 1921, when Charlie was in his mid-thirties.

The painting may have been a preparatory sketch for Tuke's Facing South, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1921.

Charles O'Brien, head of 19th-century pictures at Bonhams, said: "Henry Scott Tuke is a highly regarded and much sought-after British Post-Impressionist artist.

"His ability to capture the vitality of youth and the extraordinary light found in Cornwall has always made his works popular with collectors."

His work can be seen at The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, which owns 277 works by Tuke, and the Falmouth Art Gallery, which has six oil paintings and four watercolours by the artist.

Tuke was born to a Quaker family in York in 1858, later moving to Falmouth because of his father's health.

He then studied art in London, France and Italy before returning to Falmouth, renting rooms in a cottage at Pennance Point, where he could paint male nudes on the local beaches in privacy.

He died in 1929, aged 70, and is buried at Falmouth Cemetery.

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