Menpes was born in Australia, and became a pupil and follower of Whistler as well as a mentor and colleague of Elizabeth Armstrong (later to become Mrs Elizabeth FORBES).
He painted market and street scenes in various countries, and illustrated numerous travel books, the texts for which were written by his daughter Dorothy. In 1882 he gave lessons in etching to Elizabeth ARMSTRONG in Pont Aven, and then visited St Ives with Walter Richard SICKERT and James Abbot McNeil WHISTLER during their famed stay in 1883-84. It may partly have been due to their encouragement that Elizabeth Armstrong decided to give West Cornwall a try. Her preference was for St Ives - and she did work there - which was always more cosmopolitan and international than Newlyn.
Painter, watercolourist and etcher, Menpes' subjects and palette were much influenced by Whistler and the Japanese style. It is thanks to him that such a complete record and collection of the etchings of Elizabeth Forbes was made. Menpes valued them highly, and believed in her talent for the techniques involved - which Stanhope FORBES later discouraged (possibly because of the Menpes' Whistler-Sickert associations, of which he did not approve).
Menpes published World Pictures, being a record in colour (300 illustrations, 50 in full colour of people and scenes in twenty-one countries), with text by Dorothy Menpes. He died in Pangbourne, Sussex.
Painter and etcher
works and access
Works include: Breton Fisher Girl (1883)
Publications include: Illustrations for World Pictures, being a record in colour (300 illustrations, 50 in full colour of people and scenes in 21 countries), with text by Dorothy Menpes (London, Adam & Charles Black)
Access to Works: Guildhall, London; Tate, London; Torquay; Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris; Cape Town; San Francisco; University of Pennsylvania
Various exhibitions (5)
Cook et al Singing from the Walls
Cross (1994) The Shining Sands
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall
Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists
Newton et al (2005) Painting at the Edge;
Wood (1995) Victorian Painters