SAMUEL BOUGH, R.S.A. | Anne, Nelly and Tom, the Children of David McBeath of Nunlands Near Ayrton, Berwickshire
49

Property of the Trustees of The Finnis Scott Foundation

SAMUEL BOUGH, R.S.A. | Anne, Nelly and Tom, the Children of David McBeath of Nunlands Near Ayrton, Berwickshire

Estimate: 8,000 - 12,000 GBP

Property of the Trustees of The Finnis Scott Foundation

SAMUEL BOUGH, R.S.A. | Anne, Nelly and Tom, the Children of David McBeath of Nunlands Near Ayrton, Berwickshire

Estimate: 8,000 - 12,000 GBP

Lot Details

Description

Property of the Trustees of The Finnis Scott Foundation


SAMUEL BOUGH, R.S.A.

1822-1878

Anne, Nelly and Tom, the Children of David McBeath of Nunlands Near Ayrton, Berwickshire


signed l.r.: Sam Bough

oil on canvas

31.5 by 48.5cm., 12½ by 19in.

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Condition Report

STRUCTURE

This picture is relined and in good condition. The upper stretcher bar has left a faint impression in the paint surface - this is only visible upon close inspection. The paint surface is slightly dirty and may benefit from a light clean.


UNDER ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT

There are scattered retouchings in the sky and to the headland and to the top corners of the painting where the rebate of the frame has rubbed the paint surface. There are further minor retouchings among the rocks. None of these retouchings are excessive.


FRAME

This picture is contained in a moulded plaster frame.


"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Cataloguing

Provenance

J. Nicholas Drummond Esq., until 1974;

Sotheby's, London, 30 August 1974, lot 311;

Sotheby's Belgravia, 1 April 1980, lot 208, where bought by Sir David Scott

Exhibited

Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland, Sunshine & Shadow - The David Scott Collection of Victorian Paintings, 1991, no.22

Literature

Sotheby's, Pictures from the Collection of Sir David and Lady Scott, 2008, p.160, illustrated p.161

Catalogue Note

Painted in the early 1860s, this painting depicts the three children of the artist’s friend David McBeath, Anne (the eldest), Nelly and Thomas (the two younger children seen in red and blue tartan respectively). Despite appearances and notwithstanding a masculine Christian name, Thomas appears to have been female (her name may have been Thomasina) or so Bough’s letter of February 1863, accompanying a group of sketches given to the children, would seem to indicate: ‘Tommy and Nelly are to understand that the four sketches in the one frame are a joint property, the first married to have the whole lot. So they must be good girls and get married as soon as possible.’ The close affection that linked Bough to the McBeaths was further indicated by his suggestion that ‘should any accident put me into the position of a single man, I am at the immediate disposal of either of the young ladies who may honour me with their commands.’ (Sydney Gilpin, Sam Bough RSA, 1905, p.136).


It seems likely that the rocky headland and distant hillsides were painted on the North Sea coast in Berwickshire, as David McBeath had a house at Nunlands. The landscape background is painted with an immediacy and freshness that suggests it was painted on the spot. Robert Louis Stevenson conveyed the bravura and confidence of Bough’s plein-air painting when he described his method as an ‘act of dashing conduct, like the capture of a fort in war’. A figure subject in a landscape setting of this kind appears to be unique among Bough’s work, which largely consists of pure landscape. The format was presumably devised at the request of David McBeath so as to combine a topography with which he was closely associated and portraits of his children.

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Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite and British Impressionist Art
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