Lot 94: Elizabeth Adela Stanhope Forbes, A.R.W.S. (Canadian, 1859-1912) The Ford 107 x 82 cm. (42 1/8 x 32 5/16 in.)
Under a Western Sky - The Art of Newlyn and St Ives
November 18, 2009
London, United Kingdom
signed 'EAFORBES' (lower left)
oil on canvas
107 x 82 cm. (42 1/8 x 32 5/16 in.)
Sale, Sotheby's London, 22 July 1973, lot 168
Sale, Christie's London, 13 May 1977, lot 50
Sale, Phillips London, 5 March 1987, lot 18
Private Collection, U.K.
London, Royal Academy, 1908, cat. no. 374
Penzance, Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Focus exhibition, 1997-98
Penzance, Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Singing from the Walls: The life and art of Elizabeth Forbes, July-September 2000, then touring to Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham, October-December 2000.
Penzance, Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Wild Cornwall, March-June 2009
Royal Academy Illustrated, p. 64 (b&w.ill)
Judith Cook and Melissa Hardie, Singing from the walls: the life and art of Elizabeth Forbes, (Clifton, 2000), p. 181, cat 4.91 (col.ill.p.138).
Elizabeth Forbes had a natural understanding of the affection that existed between mother and child and described it with great warmth in both her paintings and in her writings. In the early 1900s she held two exhibitions devoted to paintings of children (Fine Art Society, 1900 and Leicester Galleries, 1904) and as a result appeared in a variety of publications. One in particular commented However difficult it may be to diagnose the charm of a particular talent, it is obvious that a passionate love of outdoor life and a tender regard for children are the mainsprings of Mrs Stanhope Forbes's powers.'
This genuine maternal affection and natural domesticity led Elizabeth Forbes to a contented life during the first decade of the 20th century, tending to the needs of her family and home as well as the students who attended their School of Painting, which opened in 1899, while pursuing her own career as an artist. It was commonly acknowledged that Elizabeth imbued her paintings with a femininity and sensitivity for the people and landscapes that she chose to depict. In the second of the formentioned exhibitions, she comments with affection 'Dear little people! To the painter who goes back year by year to the same hunting grounds, the memory of them becomes glorified and tender...And one marks the flights of the years with their changing. The yellow-haired baby of one summer in the sturdy brown-legged urchin of the next. Still a little longer, and the tiny schoolgirl with pinafore and satchel is found again in the slim young matron, mothering a yellow-haired baby in her turn'.
The present lot was completed and exhibited at the end of this golden period of Elizabeth's life, a period of bountiful health and unalloyed contentment with the various facets of life she pursued in Newlyn. The exceptional light and economy of line show her technical ability at its best, however the delight of this painting is surely the tranquil trickle of the stream and the careful footsteps of the dutiful mother as her child gazes playfully into the trees.