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John Lavery - A Rally

Sir John Lavery, A Rally, 1885

Sir John Lavery, A Rally, 1885

This dynamic watercolour of a tennis match, with figures caught mid-action, was one of several paintings by Lavery inspired by the newly popular game of lawn tennis. At this time Lavery, partly in response to cultured middle-class Glasgow patrons, turned away from rustic themes painted with a broad square brush, to modern urban life subjects painted in a new elegant and cosmopolitan style.

This painting depicts Cartbank tennis courts in the south of Glasgow with members of the MacBride family. The artist Alexander MacBride recalled posing with his sister Elizabeth and a cousin, and noted the presence of other Glasgow Boys who would comment on the action including Arthur Melville, James Guthrie and Edward (‘Teddy’) Walton. Unusually this finished watercolour was worked up from oil sketches, reversing normal artistic practice of sketches being developed into full-scale oils.

Presented by Sir John Lavery, 1935

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