More than any of their contemporaries, George Henry and Edward Atkinson Hornel grasped Bastien-Lepage's concept of spatial layering. Influenced by the rich impasto of the Marseilles painter, Adolphe Monticelli, they developed textural surfaces that often give the effect of a decorative mosaic, in which figures are sometimes almost submerged. In Henry’s case, glancing into the thicket, he catches sight of two children who appear to be running ‘through the woods’. These presences, like the vision of the saints in Bastien-Lepage’s Joan of Arc listening to the Voices, 1880 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), are akin to momentary apparitions, and the long, sustained, static observation of the early Lavery, Guthrie and Walton, takes on a new set of possibilities. He and Hornel were among the first artists to escape the strict adherence to naturalistic truth. — Kenneth McConkey



Billcliffe, Roger. The Glasgow Boys. London: John Murray, 1985; Frances Lincoln, 2008.

The Fine Art Society Story. Part I. London: The Fine Art Society, 2001.

McConkey, Kenneth. Lavery and the Glasgow Boys. Exhibition Catalogue. Clandeboye, County Down: The Ava Gallery; Edinburgh: Bourne Fine Art; London: The Fine Art Society, 2010.

Last modified 4 October 2011