Fisherwomen at Scheveningen

Fisherwomen at Scheveningen, about 1875
Edith Hume (active 1843-1906)
Oil on panel
BORGM 01123
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Fisherwomen at Scheveningen

Fishing has long been a vital industry. Hume, who was born in Cornwall, portrays the important role of the fisherwomen in the processing and packaging of the fish ready for market. The men went to sea, facing perilous weather and uncertain fortunes. The women, within the tight-knit fishing communities, worked long hours mending nets, making clothes and taking fish to market. Hume’s portrayals of Dutch fisher women and children along the shore are amongst her most captivating images.

At the same time as the Newlyn artists were creating dramatic and romantic paintings of Cornish fishing scenes, Hume was active in the Netherlands creating sympathetic beach scenes of fisherfolk. She used a plein air approach – painting in the open air. She was strongly influenced by the Hague School and its movement towards Realism. This was a reaction against the Romantic School whose painters depicted the Dutch landscape in an ideal way. This coincided with a period when the seaside and swimming in the ocean came into fashion. Fishing villages like Scheveningen became resorts that attracted visitors and artists from all over the world.

Hume trained at Heatherley School of Fine Art, London. It was the first Art School in London to admit female candidates on an equal basis as the males and encouraged its students to develop their own style. She was a skilled painter, watercolourist and illustrator.

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