Lucy Kemp-Welch (1869–1958) ‘The Harvesters’, 1899

Oil on canvas
H141 x W201cm (H55 1⁄2 x W79 in)

Private Collection
The only pre-1900 Royal Academy capital painting by Lucy Kemp-Welch still in private hands.

“The modest success of her first exhibit at a Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Gypsy Horse Drovers (RA 1895; Russell-
Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth), painted when she was still in the preliminary class at Hubert Herkomer’s art school in Bushey, Hertfordshire, only faintly presaged the phenomenal reception that awaited her 1897 Academy submission, Colt Hunting in the New Forest (Tate Gallery, London). The latter painting was immediately bought for the nation by the Chantrey Bequest trustees, the purchase transforming Kemp-Welch almost overnight from a novice to a national celebrity. She was pursued by picture buyers, printmakers and journalists alike, amazed so they said that “such a diminutive, young woman could produce paintings so large and of such masculine strength.” Laura Wortley