All Hands to the Pumps

Henry Scott Tuke, RA, RWS (1858-1929)


Oil on canvas

Support: 1854 × 1397 mm; frame: 2243 × 1805 × 105 mm

Collection: Tate, NO1618

Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1889

As the gale whips and shreds the tattered sails, a sailor hollers to his mates on the rigging to help pump out water. Tuke, born in Falmouth and now settled in Cornwall with others of the Newlyn School, painted this on a brig in Falmouth Harbour (Tate's display caption), and seems to have included a self-portrait. He is second from the left in a white shirt (see Kim 41). In contrast to another shipboard scene, Resting, this one encapsulates man's desperate, heroic battle against the elements. — Jacqueline Banerjee

Image released by the Tate under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND (3.0 Unported) licence. [Click on image to enlarge it, and mouse over the text for links.]