The Fisherman, 1891

by Walter Langley


DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 15 x 19 inches (38.1 x 48.3 cm)
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘W. Langley’ and dated (lower right)
MEDIUM: Watercolour



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    Catalogue No: 5933 Categories: , , ,

    Politically left wing for his era, Langley was noted for his social realist portrayals of working class figures, particularly fishermen and their families. He was a supporter of Charles Bradlaugh, a radical socialist politician. His own working-class background enabled him to identify with the villagers and the hardships they endured, many of his paintings reflect this sympathy with the working-class fisher-folk amongst whom he lived.

    Walter Langley is generally dubbed the pioneer of the Newlyn School, as he was the first of the group to settle in the village. Whereas most of his fellow Newlyners concentrated on painting in oils, Langley excelled at watercolour, producing narrative works imbued with almost overwhelming pathos as in this example, ‘The Fisherman’. His early training in lithography gives his paintings a detail and texture that show his technical skills.

    Private collection, United Kingdom

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    Walter Langley was a genre painter. He was born in Birmingham.

    Langley studied at the South Kensington Art School, 1873 – 1875. After his return to Birmingham, he devoted himself to mainly watercolours.

    In 1882 he settled in Newlyn, Cornwall and became part of the Newlyn School, which included Stanhope Forbes, Frank Bramley and others.

    Langley exhibited in London 1890 – 1919 at the Royal Academy, Suffolk Street and at the New Watercolour Society. He was elected R.I. in 1883.

    Walter Langley’s subjects were mostly scenes of fisher-folk and life in fishing villages.

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