Catalogue entry

N05375 THE SWISS ALPS AT THE EARLS COURT EXHIBITION 1887

Not inscribed.
Canvas, 25 1/4×30 (64×76).
Purchased from Christie's (Knapping Fund) 1942.
Coll: Steer Sale, Christie's, 16 July 1942 (135), bt. Nicholson for the Tate Gallery.
Exh: National Gallery, June–August 1943 (87).
Lit: MacColl, 1945, pp.106, 190; John Rothenstein, Modern English Painters: Sickert to Smith, 1952, pp.64–5.
Repr: Ironside, 1943, pl.2.

Painted in 1887. The Earls Court Exhibition of 1887 was the first of four held there, one each being devoted to America, Italy, France and Germany in that order. The American exhibition owed much of its success to the appearance of Colonel Cody's (‘Buffalo Bill’) Wild West Show. In his card-index Collins Baker describes the picture thus: ‘Figures walking across foreground, lanterns festooned above; peaks of the switchback railway Alp scenery.’ This seems to clear up the apparent incongruity of Swiss alpine scenery appearing in an exhibition devoted to America. A fun fair existed at Earls Court for many years, and the famous Big Wheel at the Prater, Vienna, came originally from Earls Court in 1906.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II