HE WAS a master of dramatic and moody landscapes, whose talent was not always recognised by his peers.
But now three of Leeds painter John Atkinson Grimshaw pil paintings are set to sell at auction for almost half a million pounds.
It’s a turn around in fortunes in the story of the artist, who left less than £1,000 in his will when he died in 1893.
Atkinson Grimshaw was born at 9 Back Park Street, Leeds, on September 6, 1836. His policeman father pushed him into a career as a clerk at the Great Northern Railway Company, but he gave it up at the age of 24 to begin a career as an artist.
The pieces going under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London next week are in his classic style, and were painted not long after the mysterious financial crisis in the late 1870s which forced Grimshaw to give up his seaside home, Castle-by-the-Sea, at Scarborough and return to his native Leeds.
The first, Prince’s Dock Hull, painted in 1882, is expected to sell for between £100,000 and £150,000; while the 1880s painting, Golden Autumn, is valued at between £150,000 and £250,000; and finally A Moonlit Street After Rain, from 1881, is set to fetch between £120,000 and £180,000.
A Sotheby’s spokesperson said: “Grimshaw celebrated the modernity of the nineteenth century: the age of industry, commerce and conspicuous wealth in a series of paintings in which moonlight and lamplight contrast with one another and skeletal trees or ship’s rigging are interchangeable.”
The current auction record for a Atkinson Grimshaw painting is £612,800, paid at Sotheby’s in London on December 14, 2006, for Liverpool Custom House and Wapping.
Multi-millionaire composer Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber is such a fan of Atkinson Grimshaw’s work that he owns 14 paintings, including two Yorkshire views Stapleton Park and Ghyll Beck,Barden, Yorkshire, early spring.