Pierre-Auguste Renoir

The French Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and a group of friends including fellow artist Paul Lhote and possibly Aline Charigot - who he would go on to marry in 1890 - spent just over a month on Guernsey in the late summer of 1883.

Renoir painted about 15 pictures while within the bailiwick, all featuring views of the bay and beach of Moulin Huet.  The artist stayed in lodgings at No 4 George Road, St. Peter Port which at the time was the main road south out of town and about two miles from Moulin Huet.

He wrote to his friend Edmond Maître 

We reached Jersey (for we are a group). There we visited the island like simple bourgeois...and despite the admirable sites which unfolded before our delighted gaze, we waited impatiently for the boat which was to take us to see the rock upon which the great poet lamented for eighteen years. At last the whistle sounded and in calm sunny weather we sailed round Jersey on our way to our goal.

What a pretty little place! What pretty paths! Superb rocks, beaches such as Robinson must have had on his island, as well as rump steak and ale at manageable prices – up to now, everything is fine. All I have to do is to take advantage of the admirable weather and bring you back some nice things so that you can forgive my infidelity to beautiful Normandy.

While the reason for his visit remains unclear – Guernsey was more of a draw for British tourists – most guidebooks of the era do identify Moulin Huet as a particular beauty spot. For example, Grigg’s Guide to Guernsey, Alderney and Sark specifically recommending it to visiting

This is a famous resort for artists, many of whom have commited to canvas the lovely and ever-changing aspect its locality presents; while poets too have sung of its charms in language which such scenes alone inspire.

Guernsey Paintings by Renoir 

  • Vue de Guernesey (View at Guernsey)
  • Brouilard à Guernesey (Fog on Guernsey)
  • Baie du Moulin Huet à travers les arbres (The Bay of Moulin Huet through the trees)
  • La Côte du Moulin Huet (Hills around the bay of Moulin Huet)
  • Baie du Moulin Huet Guernesey (Cradle Rock, Moulin Huet, Guernsey)
  • Baie du Moulin Huet Guernesey (Cradle Rock, Moulin Huet, Guernsey)
  •  Enfants au bord de la mer (Children on the seashore)
  • Enfants au bord de la mer à Guernesey (Children on the seashore Guernsey)
  • Guernesey, étude (Guernsey, study)
  • Baigneuses à Guernesey (Women and children bathing on Guernsey)
  • Rochers à Guernesey avec personages (Rocks on Guernsey with figures)
  • Garçons nus dans les rochers à Guernesey (Boys among the rocks on Guernsey)
  • Paysage avec baigneurs, Guernesey (Landscape with bathing boys, Guernsey)
  • Baigneuse assise (Seated bather)
  • Baigneuses (Bathers)
  • Baigneuses à Guernesey (Bathers in Guernsey)

In addition to these paintings, a number of others have traditionally been described as showing Guernsey subjects. Examination of the Guernsey coastline has confirmed that they do not represent the island. Most celebrated among these are the following:

  • Au bord de la mer (By the seashore) - The background cliffs resemble those of the Dieppe region
  • Marine à Guernesey Guernsey seascape - The background cliffs closely resemble those at Yport in Normandy.
  • Mer et Falaises Sea and cliffs - The background cliffs are of the type widely found in Normandy.