The artist began his working life in his brother's shoe factory in Northamptonshire. Starting at the age of thirty-one, he took art lessons in Glasgow whilst there on business, and later studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and Academie Julian.
A prolific and widely-travelled painter, who lived strictly to a personal code of 'work first', he painted in the vivid atmospheric manner of the Barbizon artists, often on a large scale (thus satisfying the Edwardian taste for large drawing room pictures); he was very impressed with the French landscape artists.
He was awarded numerous international medals and awards, and worked across Europe and in Japan and Africa, exhibiting at the RA from 1883 in every year until his death in 1913. Based in London, he visited St Ives from the 1890s to 1910, where his patience and scholarly approach to art had a strong bearing on the development of young painters.
He lived in The Terrace, St Ives. Charles MARRIOTT declared himself amused by the 'rivalry between East and Hemy as raconteurs.' His own writings include The Art of Landscape Painting in Oil Colour (1906) and Brush and Pencil Notes in Landscape (1914, posthumous publication). He was awarded the Grand Order of the Corona of Italy in 1903, and knighted in England in 1910.
Landscape painter and etcher
works and access
Access to Cornish works, all from Hayle estuary: Hayle from Lelant (RA 1892, Birmingham AG); A Sunlit Haven (RA 1894, Alfred East Art Gallery); The Rainbow (RA 1913, English Speaking Union)
His writings include The Art of Landscape Painting in Oil Colour (1906) and Brush and Pencil Notes in Landscape (1914, published posthumously); A British Artist in Meiji Japan (1991) being the artist's diary in Japan
Works in more than 60 galleries worldwide.
RA (108) 1883-1913
Fine Art Society 1890, 1895 and 1898
Leicester Galleries 1912, 1914
Touring exhibitions to Pittsburg, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington 1909-1910
Paris Salons 1889-1913 (28 works)
Venice Biennale 1895-1913 (26 works)
RBA (President 1906-1913),
RE from 1885
ROI from 1888
misc further info
With grateful thanks to Paul Johnson, author, for documented corrections (DOB) and additional information.
St Ives Times 8 May 1914
Alfred East Gallery, Kettering, Northants
Dowdeswell Exhibition cat (repr Hardie 2009)
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p323)
Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists
Johnson & McConkey (2009) Alfred East, Lyrical Landscape Painter Bristol: Sansom & Co
Newton et al (2005) Painting at the Edge
Notts Exhibition catalogue (repr Hardie 2009)
Tovey (2009) St Ives: Social History
Whitechapel Exhibition catalogue (repr Hardie 2009)
Wedmore 'The Work of Alfred East' The Studio Vol VII:133
Whybrow (1994) St Ives (1883-1900 list, p 210)
Wormleighton (1998) Morning Tide, John Anthony Park and the Painters of Light