Surf-Riders. Honolulu. [Charles W. Bartlett]

Silke van de Grift

Media Editor

Mark Twain once wrote “In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing.”

I don’t think that's what Charles W. Bartlett saw when he first set foot on Hawaii. Or maybe he  did, but that means he censored his art. However, since Charles was born in cold and rainy London, I am pretty sure he wasn't an avid surfer boy himself. Surfing will be become an Olympic sport in 2020, let's see how many British men and women will be competing!

Charles and his second wife were able to travel the world, because his late first wife came from a rich family. The couple was visiting Japan, but stopped in Hawaii before returning to England. Story goes they loved it so much they never made it back. 23 sunny years later, Charles died on the islands.  

You can spot this painting at the most appropriate place ever (apart from the beach), at the Honolulu Museum of Art. In between your bouts of surf-bathing, that is.