La Thangue was born in Croydon, Surrey, a suburb of London, and was schooled at Dulwich College where he met fellow painters Stanhope Forbes and Frederick Goodall. He studied painting first at the Lambeth School of Art and then, from 1874–79, at the Royal Academy, London, winning a gold medal for his work in 1879. This led to a prestigious scholarship for 3 years at the studio of Jean-Léon Gérome at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Here La Thangue came under the influence of the Barbizon school of open-air landscape painters, such as Bastien-Lepage and Dagnan-Bouveret, despite the fact that his teacher was strongly critical of the movement.
Between 1881-82 La Thangue spent some time painting on the coast of Brittany (one of his works from this period is "The Boat-builder's Yard"), then in Donzère in the Rhone valley (1883). He became a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1883. He returned to England in 1886, exhibiting at the Royal Academy, Royal Society of British Artists (RBA), Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, and many regional galleries. He became involved in a failed attempt to reform the Royal Academy, helping to found the rival New English Art Club (NEAC) and exhibiting his work there.
In the late 1880s, La Thangue moved to South Walsham in Norfolk. One of his painting of this period, "Return of the Reapers" (1886) reflected his interest in photography and photo-realistic depictions. In the early 1890s he settled in Bosham, in Sussex, where he continued his large-scale rural genre paintings, some of which proved to be controversial. In 1896, the Tate Gallery acquired "The Man with the Scythe" . In 1898 he was made an Associate of the Royal Academy, becoming a full Member in 1912.
La Thangue eventually made his base at Haylands in Graffham, Sussex, though he also spent much time painting in Provence in France (after 1901), Liguria in Italy (1903–11) and the Balearic Islands. His southern European Landscape paintings were shown in a successful exhibition at the Leicester Galleries just before the outbreak of World War I.
In 1929 he was reportedly deeply affected by the loss of two of his paintings when the ship Manuka carrying them foundered off the New Zealand coast. In that same year he died in London on 21 December. On 26 December the paintings were recovered near Long Point, New Zealand, in fairly good condition.
His wife Kate died on 22 September 1940 leaving a bequest of three of La Thangue's works ("Village Fountain", "Provençale Fishing Boats", and "Plovers on the Marshes") to the Robert McDougall Art Gallery in Christchurch, New Zealand.
La Thangue's work regularly fetches large sums when it comes up at auction. In 2006, his "Packing grapes" was sold for £70,000, while in December 2009 "In the orchards" realised over £285,000.
- La Thangue biography (National Maritime Museum - retrieved 5 May 2010).
- La Thangue biography (European Art Gallery)
- Biography (Peter Nahum at the Leicester Galleries)
- He described the Royal Academy as "the diseased root from which other evils grow" (1887).
- "Death of Artist". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) (Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia). 27 December 1929. p. 10. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
Further reading 
- McConkey, Kenneth. A painter's harvest: Works by Henry Herbert La Thangue R. A, 1859-1929 (Oldham Art Gallery, 1978).
- Jenkins, Adrian. Painters and Peasants: Henry La Thangue and British Rural Naturalism (Bolton Museum, 2000).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Henry Herbert La Thangue|
- La Thangue online (ArtCyclopedia)
- Paintings by La Thangue (Art inconnu)
- More Paintings by La Thangue
- The man with the scythe (background info about the painting)
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