Whitby history seen in paintings

After: Modern day Runswick Bay by Jon Hall
After: Modern day Runswick Bay by Jon Hall

A UNIQUE collection of artwork showing the history of Whitby and district will be assembled at a local auction next week, before being sold on and broken up forever.

Auction house David Duggleby’s in Scarborough is hosting the auction, which features original works of art from the renowned Staithes Group of artists and many other painters, who captured life on the North Yorkshire coast over the last 200 years.

Before: 1862 Runswick Bay by George Alexander

Before: 1862 Runswick Bay by George Alexander

Auctioneer David Duggleby said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for anybody who wants to buy a bit of old Whitby.

“The lots have come from all sorts of different vendors.

“For example the Louis Grimshaw, the highest priced item, has come from America to sell over here.

“There’s very good interest in anything which relates to the area.

William Scott Hodgson's depiction of the bombardment of Whitby in December 1914

William Scott Hodgson's depiction of the bombardment of Whitby in December 1914

“We have a lot of buyers who come from all over the country but have some sort of link with Whitby, which makes them interested in purchasing pictures which reflect this coastline.”

Estimated prices of the 150 lots vary from £100 to £20,000, with a wide variety relating to Whitby, Staithes and the surrounding area.

Mr Duggleby added: “There are some interesting contrasts, for example lot 56 is a view of Runswick Bay that’s dated 1862.

“Then you have got a very similar view in lot 129, by Jon Hall, that reflects the modern representation of Runswick Bay.

“So you’ve got old and new, a difference of 150 years.”

Al Milnes, Staithes Gallery, explained why Staithes attracted so many proficient painters, and why the work they produced has enjoyed such enduring success.

She said: “At that time, the late 19th century, quite a lot of artists had been to Paris.

“They were learning about impressionism, which was all new cutting edge, and when they came back they wanted to put that into practice, painting outside from real life.

“The sea was particularly attractive to them because of the light, and they wanted to paint real people going about real work, so Staithes offered them all that subject matter.”

The unique geography and make-up of Staithes itself still attracts many artists to the village today.

Mrs Milnes added: “The actual bay faces north so you’ve got the sunlight on the sea for most of the day.

“Some artists have told me that that’s what they like about it and the other thing about Staithes is the angles, the way the village is huddled between two cliffs and all the buildings are at an angle, rising up so you can go up behind or down below.”

The auction is on Monday 5 September at 11am at the showroom in Scarborough

Viewing is Friday 2nd 10am-7pm, Saturday 12noon until 3 o’clock and on the morning of the sale.