"Interest in this Edwardian painter with a very distinctive semi-Impressionist style has grown substantially in recent years, now that the art establishment is at last prepared to appreciate the work of more-or-less openly gay artists of earlier ages. Tuke excelled at both portraiture and seascapes, but he has always been primarily known for his numerous lovingly-painted scenes of local youths skinnydipping and sunbathing nude — an amazingly bold genre to specialize in so soon after the downfall of Oscar Wilde.
This gorgeously illustrated book was originally meant to accompany a (Covid-cancelled) major Tuke exhibition and is now the only way to experience the show."
A timely survey of this significant British artist and the complexities surrounding his work and reputation today
Famed for his depictions of sun, sea, and sailing during a late Victorian and Edwardian golden age, the British painter Henry Scott Tuke RA (1858–1929) is an intriguing artistic anomaly. Moving between Cornish-based artist colonies and the London art scene, stylistically Tuke presents a fusion of progressive plein airisme, loose impressionistic handling, and a vivid palette, and yet he was fundamentally an academic painter of exhibition nudes. Though consistently successful throughout his lifetime, in the wake of two world wars Tuke’s depictions of bathing boys came to represent a seemingly outmoded epoch. This far-reaching study features new research from leading authorities on Victorian and Edwardian art. Essays tackle questions of wide-ranging artistic influences, experimental art practice, and a varied reception history. Tuke’s repeated portrayal of adolescent male nudes provokes challenging questions about the depiction, exhibition, and reception of the body—especially the young body—both then and now.