“Staithes…. It was there that I found myself and what I might do. The life and place were what I yearned for – the freedom, the austerity, the savagery, the wilderness. I loved the cold and the northerly storms when no covering would protect you. I loved the strange race of people who lived there, whose stern almost forbidding exterior formed such contrasts to the warmth and richness of their nature.”
Written by Laura Knight early in the 20th century, an art group that only lasted 15 years, I came across them in a book in the local library.
I am always interested in paintings, depictions of the world around us, their subjective imagery belongs to the artist not you. I had been to an auction just along the road, and came in when the paintings were being auctioned off, surprisingly for Whitby (or maybe not) some of the paintings ran into thousands of pounds, and though I am not keen on over ornate gold frames and rampant stags there were other smaller paintings of interest. Also at the Pannett Museum, the first room you enter (free) has two galleries, one given over to Whitby's famous painters, Richard Weatherhill, and the other gallery to local artists, their paintings for sale.
I have mulled over buying some prints or an original but this exercise is difficult. I had decided on some of Nikki Corker's quirky prints, like the fun element and the children would appreciate them, nothing too serious for me, animals, birds and flowers. Sutcliffe and his sepia photos though fascinating are too miserable to stick on the wall.....
So back to the Staithes artists, I can understand what drew them to this 'picturesque' part of the coast, and they were welcomed by the people of Staithes bringing in much needed income. The railway had come to this part of the world so travelling was not too difficult, though even today, as I can testify, travel by train takes a long time, whether from Bristol - 4 hours to York, an hour to Scarborough and then another hour by bus to Whitby, the whole day is taken up with travel and waiting, and don't get me going on the state of the trains ;)