The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Henry Scott Tuke, 1858-1928

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1858.06.12
Place of Birth: York
Date of Death: 1928.01.03
Place of Death: Swanpool, Flamouth


Henry Scott Tuke was a genre, portrait, figure and marine painter. He was the brother of the landscape and flower painter Maria Tuke Sainsbury.


Tuke studied at the Slade School of Art from 1875 under Alphonse Legros and Sir Edward Poynter, and in Florence in 1880, having won a Slade scholarship in 1877. He also studied in Paris under J. P. Laurens from 1881 to 1883. There he met Jules Bastien-Lepage, who encouraged him to paint en plein-air. On his return to Britain he settled in Cornwall, first at Newlyn, where he became a founder-member of the Newlyn School, and from 1885 at Falmouth, where he bought a boat.

Tuke's paintings of the Cornish fishing community, painted in a bold and realistic style, reflect his knowledge of the sea. All Hands to the Pumps (exh. R.A. 1889; Tate Gallery, London) attracted much critical attention. It was purchased by the Chantrey Bequest in 1889, as was August Blue in 1894 (1893-4; Tate Gallery, London), a picture showing his interest in the male nude. His images of naked boys on sunlit beaches evoked moral concerns among some of his contemporaries. August Blue is painted in a new Impressionistic style, influenced by his travels to Italy, Corfu and Albania in 1892. The influence of JW can also be seen in Tuke's growing concern for mood over narrative and in his use of evocative titles. Tuke also worked in pastels and executed a single sculpture, The Watcher (1916).

Tuke exhibited in London from 1879 at the Royal Academy, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Dudley Gallery, Fine Art Society, Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery, New English Art Club, Society of British Artists, Goupil Gallery, Dowdeswell Galleries. He was a founding member of the NEAC in 1886, a group with which JW exhibited at their first show in 1888. In 1888 Tuke joined the membership of the RBA, a society that appointed JW its President in 1886. Tuke was elected an associate of the RA in 1900, becoming a full member in 1914. In 1904 he was made an associate of the Royal Water Colour Society, achieving full membership in 1911.

Tuke was among those who were invited to attend a dinner organised by W. C. Symons to congratulate JW on being made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Munich, a dinner held at the Criterion in Piccadilly on 1 May 1889 (#00631).


Sainsbury, M. T., Henry Scott Tuke: A Memoir, London, 1933; Cooper, E., The Life and Work of Henry Scott Tuke, London, 1987; Wainwright, D., and C. Dinn, Henry Scott Tuke, 1858-1929: Under Canvas, London, 1989; Wood, Christopher, Dictionary of Victorian Painters, Woodbridge, 1971; Johnson, J., and A. Gruetzner, Dictionary of British Artists 1880-1940, Woodbridge, 1980; McConkey, Kenneth, Memory and Desire: Painting in Britain and Ireland at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, London, 2002; Justine Hopkins, 'Henry Scott Tuke', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 21 March 2003).