Towards the Sun: the Artist-Traveller at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

ISBN: 9781913645083
Artist(s): Various
Author(s): Kenneth McConkey
Format: hardback
Year published: 10 Aug 2021
Publisher: Paul Holberton Publishing
Publisher Location: London


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While there have been monographs on British artist-travellers in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, there has been no equivalent survey of what the writer, Henry Blackburn, described as ‘artistic travel’ a hundred years later. By 1900, the ‘Grand Tourist’ became a ‘globe-trotter’ equipped with a camera, and despite the development of ‘knapsack photography’, visual recording by the old media of oil and watercolour on-the-spot sketching remained ever-popular. Kenneth McConkey’s exciting new book explores the complex reasons for this in a series of chapters that take the reader from southern Europe to north Africa, the Middle East, India and Japan revealing many artist-travellers whose lives and works are scarcely remembered today.

He alerts us to a generation of painters, trained in academies and artists’ colonies in Europe that acted as creches for those would go on to explore life and landscape further afield. The seeds of wanderlust were sown in student years in places where tuition was conducted in French or German, and models were often Spanish, Italian, or North African. At first the countries of western Europe were explored afresh and cities like Tangier became artists’ haunts.


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