Percy Morton Teasdale RCA

‘His First Ship’

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‘His First Ship’
Oil on canvas 50” x 40”

Percy Morton Teasdale RCA
British, 1870-1961

Like a number of his contemporaries, Percy Morton Teasdale RCA was drawn to the North Yorkshire fishing town of Staithes. Its wonderful light and beautiful scenery proved irresistible to the growing number of artists who were influenced by the French Impressionists and sought to create a uniquely British take on Impressionism. In fact, Teasdale studied at the Academie Julian in Paris, where he gained first hand experience of the genre and also trained under the prominent artist Hubert von Herkomer. He exhibited six works at the Royal Academy between 1894 and 1904.

Percy Morton Teasdale painted portraits, landscapes and figurative subjects in an accomplished style.

He had a strong sense of composition and narrative, as can be seen in His First Ship, a charming snapshot of life in a Yorkshire coastal town. The Staithes artists were very much drawn to painting domestic scenes en plein air. And as such, this painting is a strong example of the genre. It depicts an old fisherman making a model boat for a young boy as the boy looks eagerly on. The setting is a typically narrow and twisting ginnel, with the fisherfolk going about their daily business. At the edges of the painting are lobster nets and fishing nets hung up to dry.

Both the fisherman and the young boy wear ‘Gansy’ sweaters, traditional fisherman’s jumpers that were handmade by the women folk. The colours and patterns were unique to their own particular village, to help identify bodies washed up after accidents at sea. Local detail can also be seen in the Staithes Bonnet worn by the woman coming down the steps.

© Sutcliffe Galleries 2012


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