HENRY SCOTT TUKE
HENRY SCOTT TUKE, RA, RWS (1858-1929) THE WATCHER bronze, inscribed TUKE/1916 (on the front of the base), rich greenish dark patinaa, on wood plinth, 31cm h
Conceived in 1916 and cast shortly afterwards in an edition of 5.
Provenance: Sir William John Lancaster (1841-1929); obtained from his descendants by C J R Alderson and b y whom sold to the present vendor on 20 November, 2003.
Literature: Sainsbury (M Tuke) Henry Scott Tuke a Memoir 1933, p 158.
Price (B D) The Registers of Henry Scott Tuke 1983, R843.
Cooper (E), The Life and Work of Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929) 1987, pp 57-58.
Wainwright (D) and C Dinn, Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929), Under Canvas 1989, p116.
Prices realised by other examples of 'The Watcher' sold at auction in recent listings comprise Sotheby's, 15 November 2011, lot 87 £31250; Christie's, 6 June 2003, lot 43 £22,705; Sotheby's, 29 October 2002, lot 104
22,705 and Christie's 6 March 1998, lot 8 £42,200.
It is surprising given the assured modelling and the figures alert lifelike pose so familiar from the naked local Falmouth lads of his pictures, that the Watcher was to be Tuke's only foray into sculpture.
It was conceived at a time of significant professional and personal change for Tuke. Although the subject on which his reputation was established did not change - dazzling coastal light under a blue sky and golden sunlight reflected on athletic male flesh - his pictures, already recognised as a unique contribution to British art of the period was transformed by a new found freedom in technique and a confidence to experiment.
Profoundly distressed by World War I, which from his vantage point overlooking the approach to the Carrick Rose and also listening first hand to the testimonies of local men, sometimes his own former models of the reality of life and death on the battle fields of Flanders.
The principal models for The Watcher were Harry Childs and Charlie Mitchell and the plaster cast from the wax maquette was shown at the Royal Academy in 1916 before a very small number, thought to be five, bronzes were cast, including the present lot.
Access to the coast around Tuke's secluded house and studio on the cliffs at Pennance and the rocks and sands below setting of many of his pictures of bathers were stopped because of the war and this enforced idleness, although fortunately brief, was why he turned to sculpture.
Estimate: £15000 - 20000
Sold for £15000