Royal Academy paintings of 1891 and 1927 back in Cornwall
Posted by      10/09/2021
Royal Academy paintings of 1891 and 1927 back in Cornwall

"Soldiers & Sailors, Salvation Army 1891" by Stanhope Alexander Forbes and "The Cornish Riviera" by Samuel John Lamorna Birch are now available via Sims Gallery and offers are invited for these impressive works.

Soldiers & Sailors, Salvation Army 1891 by Stanhope Alexander Forbes

Exhibited Royal Academy 1891. No.1118 (Gallery XI).
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: 61" x 81"

The location for this important large painting is believed to be the harbour beach, St Ives. The newly-extended Seaton’s pier is seen nearing completion, prior to installation of the new lighthouse. This would suggest that the preparatory sketches for this work were drawn in 1890, with the painting being completed in the spring of 1891. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in that year and also in Paris and South America. Forbes was active in St Ives from the late 1880's to the early 1890's. He courted Elizabeth Adela Armstrong when she came to St Ives after they had first met a few years earlier in Brittany.  They were married in the summer of 1889 at Newlyn's St Peter's Church.  The couples association with St Ives is underlined by the fact that they were founder members of the St Ives Arts Club in 1890, along with fellow Newlyn artists Thomas and Caroline Gotch.


1909: Exhibition of modern art, forming the collection of the late George Mc Culloch Esq.
1913: Sale at Christie's on May 23, 29, and 30, 1913 of the above collection. Lot 139 Forbes, Stanhope A, RA, 1891, Soldiers and sailors: Salvation Army holding a service in a fishing village, RA, 1891 - 61" x 81" (Cassell), £94 10s
Currently: Private collection, Sussex, UK.

An extract from: Stanhope A. Forbes, A.R.A., and Elizabeth Stanhope Forbes, A.R.W.S. by Mrs Lionel Birch (Cassell and Company, Limited, 1906).

Mr. Forbes' picture, “ The Salvation Army," was completed and exhibited in the spring of 1891. At that date the fervour of the great end-of-the-century revival had but newly laid hold on the impressionable Cornish folk. More than a hundred years before, John Wesley had taken captive the imagination of the half-savage miners, the wreckers and smugglers of his day ; and still these people, the gentler, more law-abiding descendants of that wild race, are predisposed to give ready response to the appeal of an emotional form of religion. The spectacle of any concourse of people, swayed in unison under the impulse of a strong sentiment, must have its fascination for the artist. Here this little group of the soldiers of the “ Army" : the lasses leading the briskly-chanted hymn, the young sailor with peaked cap who holds aloft the banner, the sturdy central figure in dark red jersey whose performance on the drum certainly cannot lack power, for he is a quarryman, newly converted, and more used to the rhythmic strokes of pick on granite - all intent on their idea; and the outer ring of gaily-clad children, the lounging fisher lads, the carter passing by — all these made up a picture to the artist, more especially as he found it ready to his hand in what was to him the most sympathetic setting possible : the familiar beach, the quiet waters of the harbour, the brown sails spread to dry on the idle boats.

The Cornish Riviera by Samuel John Lamorna Birch is a superb, large oil painting showing a sweeping view over Mount's Bay, likely to have been observed from high ground in the vicinity of Kenegie Manor, near the village of Gulval.

Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: 121.9 x 152.4 cm. (48 x 60 in.)
Presented in a fine gilt frame.
Provenance: Private collection, Sussex, UK.
Exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1927

An extract from the news publication "Truth" - Wednesday 18 May 1927

Art - The Royal Academy - "The most uplifting view of Mount's Bay from the hills a Mr. S. J. Lamorna Birch, A.R.A. entitled "The Cornish Riviera."  The G.W.R. ought to have an eye on this picture."

The painting was reproduced in the Illustrated London News - Saturday 07 May 1927 under the heading "Pictures of Outstanding Interest".

Extract from the Western Morning News - Friday 18 March 1927

THE CORNISH RIVIERA - "Though a Lancashire man, Mr. Lamorna Birch practically makes his home Cornwall, which has brought him fame, culminating in the new honour of A.R.A. He shows several oils this year. "The Cornish Riviera" an exquisite combination landscape, and seascape. On the hills between Penzance and Gurnard's Head Mr. Birch felt the beauty of springtime in Cornwall and, looking back over Mount's Bay, the Great Western Railway, and St. Michael's Mount, was impressed with the magnificent view that so nany thousands of people admire."

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