A light still shines
COLLECTING: Back in favour... the watercolours of a Yorkshire genius make a splash at auction. John Vincent reports.
E was known as “The Turner of the North” and his delicate watercolours greatly influenced the Staithes Group who congregated in the Yorkshire fishing village where he was born. Now the work of George Weatherill (1810-1890) is undergoing something of a renaissance after a few years in the doldrums.
A collection of eight Weatherill pictures previously loaned to Whitby Museum was put up for auction at Tennants of Leyburn by a descendant of a local family who were keen collectors of both the Weatherill family of artists and the Staithes Group in general. The pictures sold for an impressive £35,450, well over twice as much their pre-sale upper estimate.
Shipping at Sunset went for £7,000, against an estimate of £2,500-£3,000, Whitby Habour £6,500 (£2,500-£3,000), The Battery £6,000 (£1,000-£1,200), Fishing vessel beached at Sandsend £5,200 (£1,000£1,500), another entitled Whitby Harbour £4,600 (£1,500-£2,000) and Whitby Abbey £4,500 (£1,000-£1,500).
From the same collection, two oil paintings by his son Richard, Fishing boat entering Whitby Harbour with figures on a quayside and Whitby from
He was influenced by JMW Turner, the master of light who became
a family friend.
Upgang showing the Two lime-Kiln there in 1853, before the East Pier Lighthouse was Built, realised £3,000 and £2,500 respectively. From outside the collection, but to complete the artistic family circle, At Lugano, by Richard’s sister Mary, made a more modest £140.
Farmer’s son George Weatherill, one of Yorkshire’s finest watercolourists, was born at Cliff House in Staithes and spent his entire life in the Whitby area. He worked as a clerk in Chapman’s Bank and remained with the firm until 1860, when he left to become a full time artist. Essentially self-taught, he was influenced by JMW Turner, the master of light who became a family friend
Weatherill’s watercolours captured the unique quality of Northern coastal light and his handling of moonlight, sunset and sunrise have yet to be equalled by any other Northern artist. Like his mentor, Turner, he used his fingernails to create just the right effect and was unsurpassed at creating the impression of spray from boats in rough seas.
A delicate, intelligent child, he spent his spare time watching fishermen and