A light still shines

COL­LECT­ING: Back in favour... the water­colours of a York­shire ge­nius make a splash at auc­tion. John Vin­cent re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Objects Of Desire -

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

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