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John Atkinson Grimshaw

1836 – 1893

Baiting the Lines, Whitby
Oil on canvas
50.6 x 76 cm
Purchased 1927. Photography Jerry Hardman-Jones

Grimshaw was a prolific self-taught painter whose innovation was to apply the tradition of rural moonlight images to the city, recording ‘the rain and mist, the puddles and smoky fog of late Victorian industrial England with great poetry’.

Born in Leeds, he worked in his home city and the docks at Hull, Liverpool and Scarborough. For a time in the 1880s he rented a London studio near the American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler. After visiting Grimshaw, Whistler said of the artist: ‘I considered myself the inventor of Nocturnes until I saw Grimmy’s moonlit pictures.’