This work is a study for the painting titled “Whiffing” by the Newlyn artist Frank Gascoigne Heath. The finished painting is slightly smaller (14 in x 11 in) which sold at Christie’s in London for £7,130, on the 3rd of November 1999. After the painting sold at Christie’s, it passed to David Messum Fine Paintings. Subsequently, it was exhibited at Penlee House Gallery & Museum, Penzance – Frank Gascoigne Heath Exhibition 2004: Two Temple Place, London – Amongst Heroes: the artist in working Cornwall 2013.
Surprisingly there isn’t a great deal of difference between the two paintings except one can see that a more spontaneous and lucid approach was taken with our painting. It is possible our painting was sketched from life on the boat, although it seems difficult to imagine how the artist could have kept a steady hand on such a small vessel. We don’t know who the figure is rowing but it was common for artists to pay for the services of local fishermen to sit for them. The background has changed in the finished painting but it may be the same location just seen from a slightly different angle.
A good biography with many examples of Heath’s work can be found online: Frank Heath and The Newlyn School.
The painting is in excellent condition and has had a light clean and varnish.