A private view of William Arthur Howgate
William Arthur Howgate
William Arthur Howgate born in Yorkshire in April 1837. The son of a chimney sweep, he showed at an early age a flair for the arts. His father worked hard and saved enough money to send the young Howgate of to a Paris Arts school. It was there and immersed into a world of colourful impressionism and Art Nouveau thought that the young William flourished. Absorbing qualities from many of Europe’s great Artists whilst travelling the world as far as Morocco and Turkey.
Howgate’s grandson turned up at Ramsay Cornish one sunny day in March with the boot of his car full of paintings by his grandfather – which he was on the point of dumping! These turned out to be a wonderful collection including a sketch book, paints in his own work case, large quantity of small oils on board and over thirty oil paintings in sketch form. Although there was damage to some of the works, this charming personal collection was hugely exciting and will be included in our forthcoming Antique & Decorators’ auction in June 2015.
Howgate’s work in the late 1800s showed his great passion for pastoral and coastal Britain. He shunned the red brick and thick smoke of the Victorian era’s Industrial revolution to reawaken his senses to the hard graft and clear air of the Cornish coastline and the vivid colours of the Kentish countryside. He moved to Scotland in the 1890s and became friends with many within the “Glasgow Boys” movement and in particular Hugh Munro, their friendship can be seen in Several of Howgate’s paintings, almost borrowing Munro’s hand.
William exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1898. His work flourished between 1884 till around 1906 when sadly at the relatively young age of 69 he passed away. His work was then packed up and stored along with his paints, cartoon mock ups for later pieces as well as over 30 larger works. It lay untouched in the basement of his grandsons Edinburgh home until of course it came to light on that sunny day in March.
Four Bundles of miniature cartoon works including coastal and landscape scenes were sold at auction at the beginning of April within our weekly General Interiors and Antiques auction, with a Hammer price of over £1000 for all four lots it’s fair to say the world still appreciates Howgate’s Work.
Larger paintings and the artist’s sketchbook and paints will feature in our June Antique and Decorators auction.