Thangue You for the Violets

  • [Above]: “Violets For Perfume” (c.1913) oil on canvas, 109 x 95 cm Diploma work accepted 1913. (Royal Academy collection) and Portrait of a breton Peasant Girl (1880)

English realist rural landscape painter Henry Herbert La Thangue was born in Croydon, Surrey, on 19 January 1859.

La Thangue attended Dulwich College where he met fellow painters Stanhope Forbes and Frederick Goodall. He studied painting first at the Lambeth School of Art and then, from 1874–79, at the Royal Academy, London, winning a gold medal for his work in 1879.

This led to a prestigious scholarship for 3 years at the studio of Jean-Léon Gérôme at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Here, La Thangue came under the influence of the Barbizon school of open-air landscape painters, despite the fact that his teacher was strongly critical of the movement. He was associated with the Newlyn School like Henry Rheam.

  • Between 1881–82 La Thangue spent time painting on the coast of Brittany, and later in Donzère in the Rhone valley (1883).
  • That same year he became a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.
  • La Thangue returned to England three years later, exhibiting at the Royal Academy, Royal Society of British Artists (RBA), Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, and many regional galleries.
  • He became involved in a failed attempt to reform the Royal Academy, helping to found the rival New English Art Club (NEAC) and exhibiting his work there.
  • By the late 1880s, La Thangue moved to South Walsham in Norfolk.

In the early 1890s he settled in Bosham, Sussex, where he continued his large-scale rural genre paintings and eventually made his base at Haylands in Graffham, Sussex, though he also spent much time painting in Provence (after 1901), Liguria (1903–11); and the Balearic Islands.

  • La Thangue died in London on 21 December, 1929.

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