Topic: Subject or sitter

In May 1920 Talmage exhibited Cliffs, Isle of Wight as no 36 at the Fine Art Society's 'Paintings by Algernon Talmage'. Was it this picture?

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. The scene was identified as a view from Barras Nose, east of Tintagel Haven, north Cornwall, looking east-north-east across Gullastem Bay to Willapark headland, painted c.1913.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


Algernon Talmage certainly found subjects on the Isle of Wight. In addition to the Fine Art Society exhibit in 1920, he showed 'Silver Afternoon, Isle of Wight' (number 172 at the Royal Academy in 1921) and 'Morning Glitter, Isle of Wight' which was his Diploma Work at the Royal Academy in 1930 (exhibit number 157). I haven't been to the Isle of Wight in decades so I am not that familiar with the coastline but from what I do recall the coast depicted in the Kirklees painting is rather more rugged than I remember. If this painting is still housed in its original frame I would expect it to have the Fine Art Society label present if indeed it is the work shown there in 1920. An Isle of Wight resident may be able to help in regard to the precise location of the present work.

Bill White,

Looks more like the Golden Cap , Near Bridport , Dorset .

Louis Musgrove,

Morning Glitter is in the RA collection.The cliffs look somewhat different.I wonder if the above was done for a Railway Company Poster???

Louis Musgrove,

Yes Gullastem bay looks very similar- so probably Cornwall Atlantic coast.As the guide says Gullastem bay is inaccessible,so all we need is a volunteer to go out in a small boat and find the exact view ! :-) .
Talmadge also stayed at St ives and did a bit of painting there.

Brenda Lambourne,

There is a resemblance to the Golden Cap cliffs, but on the far left of the picture there is an isolated offshore rock; something that does not exist in that part of Dorset. I would also suggest North Cornwall.

Andrew Chamberlain,

Assuming that the painting does depict a scene in the Isle of Wight then there is a reasonable match to the landscape at Rocken End, west of St Catherine's Point, where Atlantic waves break against a tumbled mass of Greensand boulders. A short video of local artist Jo Bemis working there gives a good sense of the scenery, available at http://wig.ht/2no1

Louis Musgrove,

Rocken End seems to have a white band of chalk along the top of the cliff. Doesn't seem to appear in our painting?

Andrew, I agree. The case for Gullastem Bay is compelling. For those not familiar with the area, it is located close to Tintagel and just south of Boscastle on the north Cornish coast. Talmage was living and working in Cornwall from about 1895 until 1907/08. He also revisited the area later, for example exhibiting 'Tintagel' at the Royal Academy in 1923 (exhibit number 484). There is also the example 'Before the Storm, Tintagel, Cornwall' from 1922, currently on loan with Bushey Museum & Art Gallery which provides further evidence of his artistic activity in this specific area.

I agree, and Matthew's description makes a good elaboration of the current title:

'Coast Scene with Cliffs (view from Barras Nose, north Cornwall, looking east-north-east across Gullastem Bay to Willapark headland; rocks below Trevalga Cliff towards Boscastle beyond).

Matthew Imms,

I'm glad my proposal is of interest - Andrew Greg's photo, from lower than the Google Maps one, lines things up very nicely for comparison. It wasn't an entirely random idea, as I did some work on Turner's sketches of the area. In https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-the-coast-towards-bossiney-and-trevalga-from-tintagel-r1137505, Barras Nose is seen from Tintagel's Island; Willapark (with the Sisters rocks, out of sight in the Talmage, assuming the subject) is next, above the centre.

Thank you very much Matthew, we are very fortunate indeed that you happened upon this discussion. And it's good to know how you were familiar with this stretch of coast. This must be one of the most rapidly solved puzzles on Art Detective! Yesterday I was wondering whether we should write to someone in Tintagel for verification, but there is clearly no need. Talmage is an uneven artist, but I think at his best in these oil sketches from nature.

The subject has been identified as near Tintagel on the north Cornish coast. Matthew Imms describes it fully as "looking from Barras Nose (east of Tintagel Haven), east-north-east across Gullastem bay to Willapark headland, with rocks below Trevalga Cliff towards Boscastle beyond". If the collection would like a shorter description, e.g. for a wall label, can I suggest: Willapark headland seen from Barras Nose, Tintagel.

Catherine Tripp,

My painting says that it was painted in 1913
I thought it looked like it may have been from the St Ives/Cornwall area
The signature in the lower right hand corner says A. Talmage

Catherine Tripp,

198 x153 cm framed
127 x 171 cm painting only

Catherine Tripp,

My painting is very similar to the Kirklees, however there is a boat in mine on the right hand side

Thank you very much for getting in touch Catherine. It looks like Kirklees have Talmage's on-the-spot oil sketch and you have the studio version which Talmage worked up later, probably for exhibition/sale. It is very useful that your version is dated, but I can't make it out. Could you let us have a photograph of this, if it is easy for you to do? The information will be very useful for Kirklees to give a circa date for their painting. You now also know the exact location of your painting; you were thinking of the right county.

Catherine, on this thread, your image 'image-3' sent on 20/06/21 now appears conflated with another artwork, so would you be able to send it through again? In doing so, might you also take a photograph of the date of work that Sheena mentioned as being of great interest to Kirklees in her comment on 20/06/21, so we can approach the Collection with the information discovered. Thank you, David

I have approached the Collection, making them aware of the Group Leader recommendation, and I will attempt to make email contact with Catherine this afternoon, so that we can see this case successfully resolved and closed.

This one is well resolved but still open.

It looks like the only thing missing are confirmatory images (inc. of the date stated as 1913) of the finished version of the subject owned by Catherine Tripp (see her note of 20/06/2021 11:16) since the one currently attached at that reference is of an old sculpture photo, not her painting.

The conclusion already noted is that the Kirklees one is a study for it (i.e. also dated c. 1913) and various title suggestions are already provided above based on Matthew Imms's identification of the location as a view of Gullastem Bay from Barras Nose, N. Cornwall.

Osmund Bullock,

One of the many, um, idiosyncrasies (I'm being kind) of AD's creaky software is that it apparently cannot cope with a newly-posted file if it has the same name as another unconnected one that's already in the database (from some earlier post).

When preparing attachments to add to your post, therefore, make sure you give them names specific to their content.

I've emailed Catherine's original email address and gone into the discussion to see if it is retained somewhere or renamed (with a '(1)' appendix or similar). No luck as yet, so I have asked the Head of Digital Infrastructure if there is a way of retrieving. Regards, David

Catherine has kindly been in touch and will send through another photograph in a week or so's time when she will be in a position to. Regards, David

The subject of this painting was identified very quickly as a view on the north Cornwall coast, near Tintagel, and it is time to close the discussion. There are several suggestions of wording, I hope this is satisfactory for the collection: 'Coast Scene with Cliffs [view from Barras Nose, east of Tintagel Haven, north Cornwall, looking east-north-east across Gullastem Bay to Willapark headland]’. A larger version of the painting, with a boat in the bay, is in a private collection and the owner joined this discussion. Her painting has a stated date of 1913. It appears to be a studio version of this Talmage on-the-spot oil sketch of Willapark headland which the artist worked up later for exhibition or sale. Thank you very much to all contributors.