Howard Russell Butler

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    Restless Sea (1887)
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    Howard Russell Butler
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    'Gone' on St Ives Beach (1886)
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    Horses being Saddled

Howard Russell Butler

Porthmeor Studio 8? 1886-1887

Howard Butler (1856-1934) was an American painter of seascapes, landscapes, portraits and solar eclipses, and who focused on colour and light. He was famously known for painting in the French countryside in a loose impressionistic style.

Butler had arrived in St Ives in 1886, staying first with a fellow American artist Edward Emerson Simmons. He converted the first studio from a net loft at Porthmeor, noting “There was no staircase and the loft was reached by a ladder which entered through a trap door in the floor. By pulling up the ladder I was indeed isolated. I found this very serviceable when Simmons, who was an inveterate talker, would come round determined to finish some argument began the night before, and I did not wish to be disturbed.” This was possibly Studio 8 at Porthmeor.

Butler was engaged on a large seascape during his stay in St Ives, which subsequently received an Honourable Mention at the Paris Salon. He was also a keen sportsman, and played for St Ives in the Annual Cricket match between Newlyn and St Ives.

Butler returned home to New York but continued to travel and paint, and was well-known for his interest in science. He raised the money to build the Fine Arts Building in New York in 1891, and founded The American Fine Arts Society which he led for 17 years. He also worked for Andrew Carnegie for 10 years, suggesting the creation of Lake Carnegie at Princeton, and finished the building of Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue.

Text: Ben Crack