Real Lives: Charlie Mitchell, Tuke's top model

Historian feature

By James C. Pearce, published 29th November 2023

Tuke’s top model: the story of Charlie Mitchell 1884–1957

Our series ‘Real Lives’ seeks to put the story of the ordinary person into our great historical narrative. We are all part of the rich fabric of the communities in which we live and we are affected to greater and lesser degrees by the big events that happen on a daily basis. Sometimes we might even play a part in the big events, although our names are not recorded, while on other occasions we are witnesses to events and times which we would now consider remarkable. Sometimes our regular lives are the perfect illustration of how people live at any given time – but all our lives matter and we want to celebrate some of those lives here. If you have any people that you think might also fit this category and would like to write about them, please do contact: 

Henry Scott Tuke was a well-known artist from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, living most of his life in Cornwall. His paintings often featured male models, one of whom was local boatman Charlie Mitchell.

Historian James C. Pearce, a descendant of Mitchell, explores the life of Tuke’s model in this article, providing interesting insights into the significant changes taking place in both Cornwall and the rest of Britain in this period.

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