Painting Between the Tides
Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Penzance is staging a major new exhibition of Walter Langley’s work from 25 May until 1 October commemorating the centenary of his death. Incorporating more than 60 paintings, the exhibition, Painting Between the Tides: Walter Langley 1852-1922, will be an overview of Langley’s entire career and will include large scale watercolours as well as oils produced for Royal Academy shows.
We are thrilled that the exhibition will showcase a large oil painting from 1897 titled In Faith and Hope the World Will Disagree but All Mankind's Concern is Charity. The work hasn’t been displayed publicly in the UK for more than 30 years and is travelling all the way from Texas for the show. The exhibition will also feature Langley’s monumental oil painting of 1896, Breadwinners. Recently restored, the work will be shown alongside Penlee House’s watercolour version for the very first time.
In 1881, Birmingham born Langley received a commission from a wealthy patron to spend the following year in Newlyn, documenting the lives of the fisherfolk. Coming from a poor, working-class background himself, Langley was particularly touched by the hardship faced by the fishing community and his paintings were filled with tales of tragedy, loss and hope.
Walter Langley is known as the ‘pioneer of the Newlyn School’, as he was the first of the Newlyn School artists to settle in the village, setting up his studio in 1882. Like many of his fellow Newlyn artists, he had spent time painting in Brittany and Holland before settling in Cornwall.
Although Langley was an accomplished painter in oils, he mainly worked in watercolour, often on a large scale. This method of working rewarded his meticulous attention to detail, which was partly a result of him being a trained lithographer. Using this demanding and difficult medium, he portrayed scenes of everyday life in a small fishing village, highlighting the hardships and tragedies that were commonplace during that period.
Penlee House is owned and operated by Penzance Council.