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Adam's Peak, Tea Estates from a Mountain Walk in Nuwara Eliya

39.6 x 28.6 cm
Signed and dated, 1938

Stewart Montagu Cleeve

Stewart Montagu Cleeve (1894–1993) was a professional soldier who later in life was an enthusiastic music teacher. The son of a military officer, Cleeve’s mother was a brilliant pianist and a talented painter. From a very early age he had piano lessons from his mother which he had to give up once he entered the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich as a cadet. The taboo of music led him to an interest in science and he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery during the First World War, when he helped design the BL 14 inch Railway Gun known as the 'Boche-Buster'.

While serving in the Royal Army he restarted his music lessons and had his piano shipped to various outposts of the Empire where he was stationed. In 1933 Cleeve gave the first ever violin recital to be sent over the air from Radio Delhi from a temporary studio rigged up in a private bungalow. Upon his retirement in 1946, Cleeve dedicated himself to music; especially the violin which he taught to many generations of London schoolboys. Today Cleeve is best remembered for reviving interest in the viola d'amore, an instrument that fell out of use around 1790. A talented and keen amateur artist, Cleeve visited Ceylon in 1938.