E. Venis, Fishermen, Hastings Beach - Late 19th-century watercolour painting


An original late 19th-century watercolour painting, E. Venis Fishermen, Hastings Beach.

A charming marine watercolour in monochrome by a local Hastings artist working at the end of the 19th century. This painting captures the unique fishing industry at Hastings on the Sussex coast, a town which has been a maritime centre for over a thousand years. The industry survives to this day as the UK’s largest beach-launched fleet and fishing community.

There is small patch of repair to the paper, upper right. Please see photos for detail. To the corners on the verso of the sheet, there are paper remnants from historically being laid down.
7.1cm x 11cm.

This painting forms part of a fascinating collection of works that we have for sale by E. Venis, dating from the 1870s to around 1915. These paintings were produced in the footsteps of earlier well-known 19th-century watercolourists working at Hastings - including J.M.W. Turner, William Henry Hunt, Samuel Prout, David Cox, William Collingwood and Peter de Wint - who were all drawn to the town for its marine subjects.

The artist of these works, E. Venis, appears to have been a local man (the Veness family, of which Venis is a variant, were in East Sussex since the 1600s), who had a particular intimacy with his subjects and the fishing community - the local people and their houses, the boats and net shops. He paints in all weather conditions, by sea fog, moonlight and at sunset, and captures the particularities of the sustainable style of fishing at Hastings. On the town’s shingle beach, the Stade, is Britain’s biggest fleet of beach-launched fishing boats. The boats are hauled onto the beach after each fishing trip, so they are necessarily modest in size and the resulting inshore fishing practices are ecologically sound. In the 19th century this was done with the assistance of horses and the local net shops grew up around this small-scale enterprise.

The pictures are also fascinating in documenting the changing coastline at Hastings. Devastating gales caused serious damage to the town in the mid-1870s, and the fishing industry was literally almost washed away in 1883. These watercolours show views before the extending of sea defences in the 1880s and building of the harbour in 1896, and before and during the later pier fire of 1917.

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Product code: JN-288

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