10th Feb, 2022 10:00

Cornish Art & Fine Art Sale

Lot 74

Stanhope Alexander FORBES (1857-1947)

Soldiers and Sailors, Exhibited at The Royal Academy 1891

Oil on canvas, lined




'Soldiers and Sailors; Salvation Army Holding a Service in a Fishing Village’ 1891

by Stanhope Alexander Forbes.

Forbes was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1891 and full R.A in 1910.

During the early 1900s he became a prolific painter of works based on sea and harbour subjects.

The painting appeared in the Art Journal 1892 (page 69) and the Art Journals 1904 (rear page 18).

Completed and exhibited in the spring of 1891, "Salvation Army' reflects Forbes's fascination with

the colour and spectacle of local ceremonies, customs and social gatherings (seen in such works as

The Health of the Bride, Christmas Eve, Evening in the Village and Gala Day at Newlyn).

Forbes first became interested in the fervent activities of the Salvation Army when he attended one of their meetings early in 1884. In a letter to his mother he wrote of what they called a 'free and easy' going on. 'I love Jesus was being sung to a music hall tune'. Penzance became one of the main spheres of activity and its founder, General Booth, visited the town twice in the 1880s.

Salvationists were scorned and members were attacked and when a group met together large crowds would immediately gather to watch. Responding with enthusiasm to the emotional appeal of non-conformist religion following the late 19th century revival which had spread throughout Cornwall, Newlyners are portrayed delighting in the performance of the lively band accompanying a briskly chanted hymn. Curious children dressed in their Sunday best, lounging fisher lads and a passing carter create a delightful picture as they stand on a familiar beach by the North Pier, with brown sails spread to dry on idle boats.

Typically Forbes used local authentic models. The songsters and the band are members of the Newlyn branch of the Army. The sturdy central figure in the dark red jersey is a newly converted local quarryman. The large dark and sombre tones of the uniforms are contrasted with the white Sunday best pinafores and coloured dresses of the children. The natural gestures of the bystanders and children in the foreground contrast with the intensity of the Salvationists. The figures are simply conceived and strongly drawn. In the young boy to the right there is a natural grace showing a quality so typical of the children portrayed in Elizabeth Forbes's work. The little port makes a delicate group of shapes and lines to the horizon under the calm surface of the bay (Artists Journal).

Newlyn's North Pier was built in 1888. Although Stanhope readily acknowledged the practical difficulties of carrying a 7 foot canvas around the village, he painted much of the outline and setting of the picture at the location 'en plein air'. An article about Forbes in The Cornishman on 9th November 1911 includes a reference to a paragraph which first appeared in the Art Journals of 1904:

"Grit and determination to overcome difficulties were certainly needed to carry through, in the open air, on the busy Newlyn beach, such as a picture 'Soldiers and Sailors'. This was done.”

A photographic image of him working on the canvas surrounded by numerous studies he had completed, suggest that a considerable amount of work was undertaken in the relative calm and shelter of his studio.

In its year of completion, 1891, the painting was sold to the renowned art collector, George McCulloch, for £900 (£120,000 equivalent to today's terms with average inflation of 3.4 %). Following McCulloch’s death in 1907 ownership passed to his wife, who remarried in 1908 and became Mrs Coutts Michie.

It was exhibited, along with the rest of McCulloch’s collection, in the RA's winter exhibition of 1909. In 1913 it was sold, along with the bulk of the McCulloch Art Collection, as 'Soldiers and Sailors; Salvation Army Holding a Service in a Fishing Village’ by Christie's to a Mr. Cassell.

We know the purchaser’s name from an annotated copy of the sales catalogue held by the National Library of Australia. This copy was likely annotated by the art dealer David Croal Thomson (1855-1930), who acted as McCulloch’s agent in the formation of his collection.

According to Croal Thompson’s notes, ‘Cassell’ bought 13 works, some for very large sums.

Allowing for the possibility of mis-spelling, it is likely that ‘Cassell’ was the Prussian-born financier and close confidant of Edward VII, Ernest Cassel (1852-1921) who lived in London and had an exceptional art collection.

Upon his death, his estate was inherited by his sister, then four years later by his grand daughter Edwina, the future Lady Louis Mountbatten. Edwina lived in Cassel’s Brook House on Park Lane, where a great deal of his art collection was hung. The Mountbattens sold Brook House in 1939. We do not have definitive proof that Cassel and the Mountbattens were the owners from 1913 onwards but we do know that in the 1950s the painting came into the ownership of a Mr Boyle, an art dealer in Brighton. By then, it was un-stretched, rolled up and neglected. The large canvas may have incurred damage during the hostilities of the Second World War or as a result of measures taken to protect it from perceived threats during the conflict.

It remained rolled up and neglected in Mr Boyle’s stockroom until the early 1960s when it was reframed and restored and purchased by the Dyer family of Surrey. The Dyers owned it until 1982, when it when they sold the work privately to the Jamieson family.

In 2016 the Jamiesons commissioned its restoration by Jennifer Ridd, a fellow of the B.A.P.R.

It now comes to the open market for the first time in decades, having been in private ownership since 1891, arguably the finest Stanhope Forbes painting ever to be sold at auction in the modern era.

Sold for £155,000

Condition Report

A fully detailed and illustrated condition report of this work carried out by Alison Smith ACR, is available upon request.


Although the painting has been subject to poor storage and some paint loss, beneath the campaigns of restoration is a fine example of a Forbes painting with all the subtlety and characterisation of his well-known works. The current restorations obscure a lot of Forbes’ fine detailing and the remaining varnish residues disrupt the balance between the light and shade within the composition. Removal of the layers of restoration would reveal the underlying quality of this painting.

Alison Smith ACR
11th January 2022



We are proud to offer an in-house postage and packing service for all of our sales (excl. weekly Home & Garden sales). If no shipping quote is shown then a bespoke postage quote is required for this lot. Please contact postage@davidlay.co.uk for further details.

Collections for this sale will be by appointment only (Please click here to book a collection appointment).

We are proud to offer an in-house postage and packing service for all of our sales (excl. weekly Home & Garden sales). Where no shipping quote is shown then a bespoke postage quote is required for this lot. Please email postage@davidlay.co.uk or click here to view our shipping page for further information.

If you are successful we will email an invoice to you at the close of the auction. Please follow a link on the invoice which will enable you to pay immediately and securely. We accept payment by debit, credit card or by bank transfer. We do not accept cash.


General Conditions

Whilst the Auctioneer makes every effort to ensure accuracy and the description of any lot: (a) Each lot is as set out in the catalogue or as divided or combined with any other lot or lots, is sold by the vendor with all faults, imperfections and errors of description. (b) The Auctioneers do not accept responsibility for the authenticity, attribution, date, condition or quality of any lot unless they have been instructed in writing by the vendor to so certify. (c) All statements whether printed in the catalogue or made orally as to any of the matters set out in (b) above are statements of opinion only and are not to be taken as being or implying any warranties or representation of fact by the Auctioneers unless they have been instructed by the vendor to so certify.

The Auction

(a) The Auctioneer has absolute discretion to divide any lot, to combine any two or more lots or to withdraw any lot from the auction, to refuse bids, regulate bidding or cancel the sale without in any case giving any reason or without previous notice. He may bid on behalf of the vendor for all goods which are being offered subject to reserve or at the Auctioneers discretion. (b) The highest bidder shall be the buyer. The Auctioneer may at his sole discretion determine the advance of the bidding or refuse a bid. If during the auction the Auctioneer considers that a dispute has arisen, he has absolute discretion to settle it or to re-offer the lot. (c) Each lot is put up for sale subject to any reserve price placed by the vendor. Where there is no reserve price (but not otherwise) the seller has the right to bid either personally or by any one person (who may be the Auctioneer). (d) All conditions, notices, descriptions, statements and other matters in the catalogue and elsewhere concerning any lot are subject to any statements modifying or affecting the same made by the Auctioneer from the rostrum prior to any bid being accepted for the lot.

Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with the buyer's premium at a rate of 21% of the hammer price + VAT.


Notwithstanding any other terms of these Conditions, if within 14 days after the auction, the auctioneer has received from the buyer of any lots notice in writing that in his view the lot is a deliberate forgery and within twenty-one days after such notification, the buyer returns the same to the Auctioneer in the same condition as at the time of the sale and by producing evidence, the burden of proof to be on the buyer satisfies the Auctioneer that considered in the light of the entry in the catalogue the lot is a deliberate forgery then the sale of the lot will be rescinded and the purchase price of the same refunded. The vendor agrees to be bound by the Auctioneers decision.


The Auctioneer disclaims responsibility for default either by the buyer or the vendor because he acts as Auctioneer only and therefore does not pay out to the vendor until payment is received from the buyer. Instructions given by telephone are accepted at the sender's risk and must be confirmed in writing forthwith.

Third-Party Liability

Every person on the auction premises at any time shall be deemed to be there at their own risk. They shall have no claim against the Auctioneer or Proprietor in respect of any accident which may occur or injury, damage or loss howsoever caused, save in so far as the injury, damage or loss shall be caused by the negligence of the Auctioneer's or Proprietor's employees.

Clients' Money Held on Account

We operate a dedicated bank account for our clients’ money. This account in the name of Mr David Lay and Mrs Maxine Mary Inez Connell-Lay trading as Lay’s Auctioneers Limited is held at Barclays Bank, Market Jew Street, Penzance, Cornwall. We retain the interest earned on this account, which is paid to charity on an annual basis.

Complaints Handling Procedure

The RICS requires that all members who are directors of firms, have in place a complaints handling procedure, meeting an agreed minimum standard. Details of this firm’s procedure are available on request.


Vendor's Conditions


All goods delivered to the Auctioneers premises will be deemed to be delivered for sale by auction unless stated otherwise in writing and will be catalogued and sold at the Auctioneers discretion and accepted by the Auctioneer subject to all Sale Conditions. By delivering the goods to the Auctioneer for inclusion in their auction sales each vendor acknowledges that they have accepted and agreed to be bound by all these Conditions.


The Auctioneer does not himself undertake the collection of goods, but will, if required in writing, instruct a contractor on the vendor's behalf in his capacity as agent. The Auctioneer disclaims all responsibility for loss or damage to goods or for unauthorised removal of goods and damage to premises caused by the contractor.


The Auctioneer reserves the right to store or arrange goods delivered to him for sale either on his own premises or elsewhere at his sole discretion. He exempts himself from any liability for loss or damage to goods delivered to his salerooms without sufficient sale instructions and reserves the right to make a storage charge for such goods (unless the loss or damage is caused by the negligence of his employees).

Right to Sell

Vendors will be charged for goods left on the premises if the vendor has been requested to remove them and if the goods are not removed within twenty-one days of such request the Auctioneer reserves the right to sell the goods to defray costs and storage charges.


(a) Unless otherwise instructed in writing all goods on the Auctioneers premises and in his custody will be held insured for which insurance the Auctioneer will charge a premium of 1.5% plus VAT. The Auctioneer has an insurance policy that covers lots in his care, custody or control. The vendor and the buyer agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of that policy. The policy document is available for inspection at our office. (b) The Auctioneer shall not be responsible for damage to or loss, theft or destruction of any goods not so insured upon the owner's written instructions.


(a) All goods are put up for sale WITHOUT RESERVE unless written instructions are received by the Auctioneer prior to the commencement of the auction. (b) In the event of any reserve price not being reached at auction, the Auctioneer is empowered to sell after the auction, by private treaty, at not less than the reserve price. (c) The Auctioneer may charge up to 28% of the lowest estimate should any lot be withdrawn from the auction or fail to reach its reserve.


The vendor shall duly indemnify the Auctioneer against any claims in connection with any goods sold by the Auctioneer on the vendor's behalf.

Value Added Tax

A vendor who sells by auction any chattel(s) which is a asset of their business must disclose to the Auctioneer whether or not they are registered for Value Added Tax purposes and if so their registered number and whether they intend to operate the special scheme covering works of art etc. This information must be supplied to the Auctioneer on or prior to delivery of the goods.


The Auctioneers reserve the right to photograph and illustrate such items as they see fit.


Our standard vendor's commisssion is 16.5% of the hammer price + VAT, subject to a minimum fee of £5 if selling in our Home and Garden sale, or £8.25 in all other sales.

Electrical Charges

Where electrical goods are consigned to us for sale, we have by law to instruct on the vendor's behalf, a qualified person to conduct the prescribed safety checks. For this and modifications, a charge will be made and deducted from the proceeds.


Buyer's Conditions


Ample opportunity is given for inspection and each purchaser by making a bid for a lot acknowledges that they have satisfied themselves fully before bidding by inspection or otherwise as to all Conditions of Sale, the physical conditions of and description of the lot including but not restricted to whether the lot is damaged or has been repaired.

Property and Risk

The property in a lot shall not pass to the buyer until they have paid the purchase price in full, but each lot is at the sole risk of the purchaser from the fall of the hammer. Each purchaser shall forthwith give his full names and permanent address, and if called upon to do so by the Auctioneer shall forthwith pay to the Auctioneer such proportion of the purchase price as the Auctioneer my require. If the purchaser fails to do so, the lot may, at the Auctioneers sole discretion be put up again and re-sold.

Removal of Goods

(a) All lots shall be paid for and removed at the buyer's risk and expense by the end of the second working day after the auction, failing which the Auctioneer shall not be responsible if the same are lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, and all lots not so removed shall remain at the risk of the buyer and be subject to a storage charge. If they are not paid for or removed within seven days of the auction the Auctioneer may re-sell them by auction or private treaty without notice to the buyer. Any liability which there may be on the part of the Auctioneer in respect of any loss shall be restricted to the maximum of the price paid by the purchaser of the lot.

(b) If any buyer fails to comply with any of the above Conditions the damage recoverable from the defaulter shall include all loss arising from any re-sale of the lot, together with the charge and expenses in respect of both sales and any money deposited in part payment shall be held by the Auctioneer against the defaulter's liability and may be appropriated in settlement of that liability.



We do not accept cash.

Artist's Resale Rights

This levy is to be charged to the purchaser. In bidding, you accept that you will be charged in accordance with the terms of the Act. An artwork must sell for more than €1,000 to qualify for the levy. The law defines the price threshold in Euros and, because the exchange rate between the two currencies changes daily, the equivalent in Pounds Sterling is worked out according to the exchange rate on the date the artwork is sold. The threshold for the day will be announced at the beginning of the sale. The levy is 4% on up to 50,000 euros, 3% from 50,000-200,000 euros, 1% from 200,000-350,000 euros, 0.5% from 350,000-500,000 euros and n0.25% on a hammer price exceeding 500,000 euros. There is a cap of 12,500 euros payable on any one work. Please note: this scale is cumulative, which means that where the sale price is higher than the first threshold, the royalty on each portion of the price must be calculated accordingly and added together to arrive at the final sum. For example, take an artwork that sells for €210,000. The first €50,000 would achieve 4% (€2,000), the next 150,000 would achieve 3% (€4,500), and the final €10,000 would achieve 1% (€100). The total royalties due would be €6,600.

Online Bidding

Lay's Auctioneers Limited offer an online bidding service via the www.davidlay.co.uk website and the-saleroom.com for bidders who cannot attend the sale. In completing the bidder registration on www.the-saleroom.com and providing your debit card details and, unless alternative arrangements are agreed with Lay's Auctioneers Limited you:

authorise Lay's Auctioneers Limited, if they so wish, to charge the debit card given in part or full payment, including all fees, for items successfully purchased in the auction via the-saleroom.com, and
confirm that you are authorised to provide these debit card details to Lay's Auctioneers Limited
note that shipping arrangement details are available on our website www.davidlay.co.uk
Please note that any lots purchased via the-saleroom.com live auction service will be subject to an additional 4.95% commission charge + VAT at the rate imposed on the hammer price. And any lots purchased via www.davidlay.co.uk through live bidding will be subject to to an additional 3% commission charge + VAT at the rate imposed on the hammer price.


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