After studying in Glasgow and Paris, Roche settled in Edinburgh in 1896–1897. He enjoyed a successful career as a portrait painter, while also producing landscapes and genre scenes. The subject of this work is derived from a well-known fishing village a few miles from Edinburgh and it is almost certainly the painting of the above title that was lent to the Royal Scottish Academy exhibition of 1907 by its owner Robert Angus. Many painters have been attracted to Newhaven and made its picturesquely clad fisherfolk the subject of their paintings. Roche gives his fishwife a certain allure which is at odds with her arduous occupation and unromantic burden: she fixes the spectator provocatively with her gaze while the black cat at her side must surely have reminded quite a few Edinburgh gallery-goers of that in Manet’s notorious 'Olympia'.
Where to see this painting?
The Fleming Collection
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