The Wokingham Paper

EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY: Is it Sands or is it Victor? It matters not


Thomas Herbert Victor, the painter of our beautiful little picture this week, was a very interesting character who developed his very own alter ego for reasons that will become clear.

Our painting this week is a lovely little watercolour of one of the artist’s favourite scenes, local to him that he liked to paint. It is a view across the beach into the little Cornish fishing harbour of St Ives.

The view is from up quite high on the hilltop away from the town looking out to sea. So, one can take in the little harbour with the town spreading out above and behind it with the promontory that butts out into the open sea away to the right-hand side of the picture. There are many boats sheltered in the harbour with a number of others visible making their way back to safety for the night.

Victor’s work is quite simplistic in style but his paintings have a real following for topographical accuracy.

T H Victor was one of Cornwall’s most respected, prolific and truly homegrown artists, one whose work is now revered as having great topographical and historic interest as he captured many scenes around Newlyn, Mousehole, St Ives, Polperro and other local villages around The Lizard as they were in simpler times and in exquisite detail.

Not all in Victor’s life was simple though… He was born in Mousehole in September 1894 to the local village shoemaker and his wife. By the age of 17 he was listed in the census as an art student.

Having shown exceptional artistic talent all through his school years he ended up at art school in Penzance where in his first year there he was so good that he was awarded a scholarship to The Slade School of Art in London (one of the best and most respected art colleges in the country) but he refused to leave his beloved Cornwall.

Indeed, Victor would never leave Cornwall in his whole lifetime… in fact, the furthest he ever travelled was Truro!

Despite this his work flourished and his reputation grew.

Early on, he was signed up by one particular gallery in Penzance who helped him promote his work and assisted him in growing his following for the contractual rights to sell all his work.

Now for a young man at the beginning of his career this was a good move but later as he developed a following and some customers who wanted to commission work from him he needed to do this free from the restriction of this earlier contract, but the gallery would not allow him to break free.

So, he developed an alter ego… W Sands.

A number of his commissions and later works were painted under this pseudonym to enable him to grow his business independent from the gallery commitment. He ended up owning his own gallery from 1960 until his passing in 1980. This painting is one of his works that was produced with his alter ego signature of W Sands.

This painting is available to view and/or buy in my art gallery in Holme Grange Craft Village. It is listed at a mere £350, a very reasonable price for a work by this artist.

Alternatively, we now offer a leasing arrangement, so this along with all of our paintings, can be rented for a small fixed monthly rental fee.

This piece, along with many other great works, is available to view, purchase or rent at AntiqArt, the “pre-loved art” gallery at Holme Grange Craft Village or online at or call us on 0118 327 5421 for further information.

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