The Wharf, St Ives. An unfinished yet impressive study of the wharf in St Ives, c1886. Oil on canvas, 24” x 30”.
Stanhope Forbes and his fiance Elizabeth Armstrong spent several months living and working in St Ives during 1886. In his letters to Elizabeth in late September of that year he mentioned several paintings, including a mysterious reference to an unfinished work which we believe could possibly refer to this painting. He writes that he had been forced to give up his picture of “the pink house”. He explains “this morning we found another artist at work there and I fear the comparison might so damage my reputation that it is wiser to give it up at once” (letters from Stanhope Forbes to Elizabeth Armstrong dated 14th and 15th September 1886 – Tate Gallery Archives).
Although the painting is unfinished and unsigned, the composition and handling are very much in the manner of Forbes, who is known to have painted a remarkably similar study of the wharf titled “Morning Sunshine, St Ives” (Lot 464 - David Lay, Penzance, March 29, 1990). Paintings of the same buildings on the wharf by artists such as John Anthony Park, Richard Hayley Lever and Albert Moulton Foweraker all confirm that the central building was pink in colour. The painting shows the wharf before the road was built, the buildings still stand to this day. We have given the painting attribution to Forbes (in our opinion a work by the artist), but it stands well at the listed price simply as a Newlyn/St Ives school painting of the period.
Oil on canvas -
24ins x 30ins -