Rare painting donated to gallery

Helen Berry with a new paining at Pannett Art Gallery, a rare watercolour by John Wright RE''w110707a  Picture: Ceri Oakes
Helen Berry with a new paining at Pannett Art Gallery, a rare watercolour by John Wright RE''w110707a Picture: Ceri Oakes

WHITBY’S Pannett Art Gallery has a new rare painting on display of Robin Hood’s Bay thanks to a generous art lover.

The watercolour by acclaimed artist John Wright is on show in the gallery’s Staithes Room and was given to the gallery by George Bednar, a Staithes Group of Artists enthusiast who has contributed many paintings to this prestigious collection.

Wright was born in Harrogate in 1857 and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and in Antwerp, Belgium. He was a self-taught etcher and exhibited with the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers, where he was elected an Associate in 1899 and Member in 1917.

On the back of the painting is a hand written note which reads: “A Yorkshire Gorge. John Wright ARE, Robin Hoods Bay, Yorkshire.”

Curator Helen Berry said it is likely the picture was painted between 1899 when he was made associate member and 1917 when he became a full member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers.

He lived in Robin Hoods Bay during the time he was painting in this area and joined the Staithes Art Club in 1904.

In 1906 Wright married American Artist Marie Louise Wood and his work can be found in many permanent collections, including the British Museum and the V&A, and abroad.

He died at Brasted, near Sevenoaks, Kent, on 15 December 1933.

Mrs Berry said: “The Pannett Art Gallery already owns two etchings by Wright, The Canal At Sluis, Holland and The Italian Girl, Portrait of Maria Castelle but the addition of a watercolour to the collection is very exciting as paintings by this artist are quite rare.”

Also on display at the moment are two paintings which have been recently restored and cleaned - A Staithes Fisherman by James Charles, painted in 1899 and Staithes Beck, Low tide by John Guttridge Sykes.

Both of these paintings were also donations of George Bednar.

These two painting are currently displayed in the temporary exhibition of paintings from the permanent collection.

People can see all three paintings on display at the Pannett Art Gallery which is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Admission to the gallery is free.