Sale by Auction of Works by George Grosvenor Thomas, at Walter J. Buchanan’s Renfield Street Rooms, on Tuesday the 8th of February, 1898

On Monday the 7th of February, 1898, The Glasgow Herald informed its readers, on page six, about an auction sale of paintings which was scheduled to take place the following day. The notice reads:


“Mr Walter J. Buchanan will sell, by auction, to-morrow, in his Renfield Street Rooms, a collection of pictures by Grosvenor Thomas, one of our Glasgow artists, whose productions have been exhibited in Edinburgh, and in galleries beyond the kingdom. He has contributed with unfailing regularity to our city shows, and we may therefore assume that the quality of his works is well known. That it is of excellent, nay and more than excellent quality, cannot be gainsaid. He is essentially a landscape painter who looks on the world with his own eyes. His sympathies are with the Barbizon school, but he cannot be said to be consciously influenced by any one of the brotherhood. He is chiefly impressed by nature in the minor key. He paints not so much the splendour of noontide as the hours of transition – the tender melting of day into twilight and its subtleties, its poetic harmonies. In such a picture as ‘Coast at Arran,’ forming No. 26 of the present collection, we find him engaged in crystallising his impressions of the sea sparkling in sunshine, its margin under the same gracious revelation, and a very joyous reading he gives us. But for the most part, as we have said, his melodies are sweet rather than noisy – expressive of sympathy which comes from and goes to the heart. Mr Buchanan will to-morrow dispose of 61 works in all, which are representative of the artist in all his moods. They are marked by the individuality we have indicated, and technically they attest the power of the artist to render his thoughts in line and colour. Never slipshod, the pictures by Mr Thomas are equally free from over-elaboration. Mere surface finish is not his aim or end. He knows where strength exhausts itself and feebleness begins, and he does not pass the boundary line. We might enforce what has been said, if it were necessary, by referring to almost any one of the number now in Renfield Street gallery. It may be sufficient to say that Mr Thomas’ collection extends over a wide range of subjects, in which the beauty of our home landscapes is more especially insisted on. Age has its triumphs not less than the things of to-day. The artist sees loveliness even in decay. An old saw mill may lend itself more felicitously to art than a modern castle, and Mr Thomas leaves us in no doubt on the point. He recalls the glories of sunset, translates for us the glamour of moonlight as it silvers the stream flowing between meadows part shadow, part shine. And what he puts his hand to he carries out with all earnestness and devotion to art. The pictures now to be disposed of include examples which have been shown in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Munich, Venice, &c. They are to-day on private view.”


An advertisement for the sale is on page fourteen of the same edition of the Herald. Potential buyers were informed that the works were:


“painted chiefly in Ayrshire and East-Lothian during the last three years, a number of which have been exhibited in the principal Galleries of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Berlin, Munich, Dresden, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, &c., including the following well-known important Works, viz: – ‘The Hill Top,’ ‘Moonrise,’ and ‘Sunset,’ (exhibited at Munich and Venice International Exhibitions, 1897); ‘The Bend of the River,’ ‘Flour Mill, East Linton’ (both recently exhibited in the Royal Institute of Fine Arts), and ‘The Coast at Arran’ (exhibited at Venice International Exhibition, 1897).”



George Fairfull-Smith, August 2020.