William James Laidlay

On the Nile


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William James Laidlay 1846–1912
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 406 × 610 mm
Bequeathed by Alan Evans 1974

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This is one of a series of scenes on the Nile that Laidlay painted around 1900. In its colouring and smooth, long brushstrokes it appears to emulate Whistler. Laidlay played an important part in the formation of the New English Art Club. The art dealer Martin Colnaghi had agreed to finance the Club's first exhibition and hired the Marlborough Gallery for it. However, he was disturbed by Tuke's pictures of nude boys and withdrew his support. Laidlay, who had private means, stepped in to cover the exhibition costs. 'The Times' described the participants as 'the ablest English artists of their generation'. Laidley resigned from the Club in 1892 and in 1907 he published a book about the formation of the NEAC.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

T01891 ON THE NILE 1900

Inscribed ‘W. J. Laidlay/1900’ b.l.
Oil on canvas, 16×24 (40.6×60.9)
Bequeathed by Alan Evans to the National Gallery and transferred to the Tate Gallery 1974
Coll: ...; Alan Evans

Laidlay painted several Nile scenes in the years around 1900. This picture seems to have been inspired, particularly in the colouring, by the works of Whistler.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1974-6: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1978

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