John Atkinson Grimshaw
Nightfall Down The Thames (1880)
Son of a policeman, John Atkinson Grimshaw was born in Leeds and started work as a railway clerk. His parents were opposed to his taking up art as a career.
Grimshaw was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, in his youth produced vivid, highly finished landscapes.
Gradually, Grimshaw developed his own highly distinctive style and subject matter. He became a consummate painter of twilight, night time and autumnal scenes.
Grimshaw spent holidays at Scarborough, many of his pictures were set there, and in Whitby. He also painted nocturnal harbour and dockside pictures.
Although he spent some time in London, Grimshaw was a Northerner at heart and Leeds remained his base. His commercial success allowed him to buy Knostrop Hall on the outskirts of the city.
For a short time in the mid 1880s, he did have a London Studio. It is rumoured that he was a friend of Whistler. Grimshaw's output was much more varied than just this however. He painted portraits, interiors, fairy pictures and most accomplished fancy pictures of attractive gorgeously dressed young women in opulent interiors.
In the early 1890's Grimshaw's style seemed to be developing in new directions, three pictures showing this are Sand, Sea, Summer, and Fantasy of 1892, plus At Anchor 1893.
He seemed to be moving towards a freer, less formal style of painting, perhaps influenced to a degree by Whistler. Unhappily this change of direction was not to be as Grimshaw died of cancer in 1893.
Article By: Dave Roberts.
First Published: 2007.
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