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Connemara

Arthur H.Twells

English ( b.1921 - d.1996 )

Connemara

  • Oil on canvas
  • Signed lower left

Image size 15.6 inches x 30.5 inches ( 39.5cm x 77.5cm )
Frame size 21 inches x 35.8 inches ( 53.5cm x 91cm )

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Sold by Big Sky Fine Art; this original oil painting by Arthur Twells dates from around the 1970s.
The painting is presented and supplied in a sympathetic and contrasting contemporary frame to suit the subject colouration.

Arthur H. Twells has long been regarded as one of Ireland's best-ever landscape artists. He was however born in Nottingham in 1921. He said that at school he was “good for nothing except art”. At the age of 11 he won a free life scholarship to Nottingham College of Art and from 1933-1936 he studied there under Arthur Spooner. He left to start work at 14, as was customary, and began work with a firm of textile designers. He recalled wryly that for the first six months he worked for nothing and then received half a crown a week. At the end of the first year he got another rise – to seven and six a week!

At 17 he joined the navy and, in 1940, arrived in Derry on a royal naval destroyer. On his first shore leave he met Florrie Mitchell and fell in love. They married a year later - and went on to have a long and happy marriage and four children. From 1940, with the war raging in Europe, he spent his time at sea and then volunteered for a special operations post on an assault craft, which landed Allied troops on the beaches of France, North Africa, Yugoslavia and Sicily. He commanded a tiny craft that came under machine gun and shellfire, but made countless trips from the big ships offshore to the beaches to land troops. He was by nature a quiet and modest man and said, “That gave me all the action and excitement I needed for a lifetime”.

In 1946 he settled in Derry with Florrie and to make a living he took up freelance designing. However, in the post-war era there was a shortage of fabrics – except canvas, so he took up painting and never looked back. He dabbled at first in portraits, water colours and oils, but then his real talent in landscapes. During his illustrious career he painted every county in Ireland, from Donegal to Kerry and Wexford to Antrim. He also travelled across Britain, from Scottish Highlands to Cornwall.

In 1950, he gathered up the courage to mount his own exhibition in Derry. He subsequently exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Royal Ulster Academy, the Magee Gallery, Belfast, the Walker Gallery in Coleraine, and elsewhere. He also opened a studio at Shipquay Street.

His work was also sold by famous galleries in London and New York, and bought by various organisations and institutions including General Motors in the United States. In 1969, the world-respected Stehli Brothers, of Zurich, chose his painting 'Solitude by the Lake' - painted on the inland River Shannon - to produce a special print and exported it all over the world. Private collectors also bought many of his paintings - including film stars Peter O'Toole and Vincent Price.

Arthur Twells died in 1996. His work remains highly collectable. It was said that he always managed to find that special scene: a sun-kissed beach in his beloved Donegal, a shaft of light through a cloudy sky, wild flowers in a hedgerow or snow reflected warm in the changing light. He once said of his art: "I'm never fully satisfied with a painting until it's just how I want it."

This sweeping landscape depicts the Connemara region in County Galway, Ireland, known as the ”most Irish part of Ireland”. There is a stunning mountain range in the background in pale blues and mauves, with a rolling foreground of lakes, and moorland in rich browns. There are a couple of stone crofter cottages in the distance. Above are rolling white clouds. The overall mood is expansive, serene and yet grand.