Lot 28
  • 28


15,000 - 20,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Joseph Edward Southall
  • Cleaning the Lines
  • signed with monogram and dated 1900 (lower right); also dated VII.1900 (lower left); further signed, titled and inscribed on the backboard
  • watercolour, in original gilt-oak frame designed by the artist
  • 22.5 by 35cm., 9 by 13¾in.


Maxwell Armfield, R.W.S.
Alexander Ballard
The Fine Art Society, London
Mr and Mrs Alan Fortunoff
The Fine Art Society, London, 2006


Birmingham, Art Circle, Summer Exhibition, 1900, no.51;
Birmingham, RBSA, Autumn Exhibition, 1901, no.367;
Birmingham, RBSA, Spring Exhibition, 1908, no.296;
Paris, Galeries George Petit, Joseph Southall, 1910, no.14;
London, New English Art Club, Summer Exhibition, 1918, no.180;
Birmingham, RBSA, A Birmingham Group, 1919, no.87;
Manchester, Joseph Southall, 1922, no.37;
London, Leicester Galleries, Joseph Southall, 1926, no.108;
Birmingham, Ruskin Galleries, Joseph Southall, 1927, no.18;
Birmingham, RBSA, Joseph Southall, 1933, no.67;
Dudley, Joseph Southall, 1934, no.32;
Possibly West Bromwich, 1937;
Birmingham, Joseph Southall Memorial Exhibition, 1945, no. 51 (lent by Maxwell Armfield), with tour to Royal Watercolour Society, London and Bournemouth;
London, The Fine Art Society, The Arts and Crafts Movement, 1973, no.P117;
Birmingham, City Museum and Art Gallery, Joseph SouthallArtist-Craftsman, 1980, no.F.1, (illustrated in exh. cat. p.66);
London, The Fine Art Society, Sixty Works by Joseph Southall from the Fortunoff Collection, 2005, no.6 (illustrated in exh. cat., pp.61, 72)

Catalogue Note

Joseph Edward Southall was the leading member of the Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts, steeped in the tradition of John Ruskin, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. The group were an important bridge between the Pre-Raphaelites and the Slade School of artists at the turn of the 20th century. On travelling to Italy early in his career, Southall was deeply inspired by the painters of the Italian Renaissance and the technical qualities of tempera painting, which are reflected in the precise workmanship and crisp lines of the present work. On admiring frescoes in Pisa during his Italian travels, Southall described the thrill of encountering them: 'so quiet and yet so gay, so reticent in manner and so lively in essence', attributes which equally resonate in Cleaning the Lines. The setting of the present work is Southwold beach, where Southall executed a series of paintings depicting fisherfolk on the shore, which are considered some of the finest of his career and of which this is one of the earliest and most outstanding, exhibited more widely than any other of his lanscapes. It was owned by Southall's fellow tempera painter Maxwell Armfield.