Walter Langley: Disaster Scene in a Cornish Fishing Village, 1889
image courtesy of Birmingham Museums Trust
Walter Langley (1852-1922) was born in Birmingham, and at the age of 21 he won a scholarship to South Kensington where he studied design for two years. After returning to Birmingham he took up painting full-time, and in 1881 was elected an Associate of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.
He later moved to Newlyn in Cornwall where he was one of the first artists to settle there. His own working-class background enabled him to identify with the villagers and the hardships they endured, many of his paintings reflect this sympathy with the working-class fisher-folk amongst whom he lived. Although one of the first to settle in the Newlyn artists' colony Newlyn School, Langley initially benefited little from its growing fame, partly because of his working-class origins and partly because until 1892 he painted largely in watercolour rather than the more prestigious medium of oils. His early training in lithography gives his paintings a detail and texture that show his technical skills.
It wasn't until 1892 that he began to exhibit oils regularly, and perhaps it was for this reason alone that early art critics rarely credited Langley for the significant role he played in the formation of the Newlyn School. However, in many ways, these differences make Langley a particularly striking figure among those in this group. His unstinting and genuine sympathy with all the daily struggles and hardships of the Cornwall fisherfolk led him to explore all the differing aspects of their lives.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-1049: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 131mm)