STAITHES GROUP

c.1885 - 1907

Staithes

The Staithes Group was a thriving group of artists working in the fishing village of Staithes around the turn of the 20th century. It comprised some forty artists, some of whom lived permanently in the area, with many more visiting for several months a year. They lived in amongst the fishermen and women of Staithes, often lodging with them or living in their attics. This gave them first-hand experience of the harsh lives of the villagers; as a result, their paintings lend a unique insight into a long-forgotten lifestyle. Joseph John Richard Bagshawe (1870-1909) was a keen sailor and regularly went out to sea with the Staithes fishermen, an experience which gives his paintings a lifelike realism. However, their subject matter was not limited to the sea and the group produced an incredibly varied body of work, including landscapes, portraits, genre paintings and still lifes. Unlike Newlyn, it was never an artistís colony, instead, Staithes was a collective of like-minded artists who were simply eager to portray urban life and to escape the artistic rigidity in the then establishment. Many of the members travelled abroad: Frederick William Jackson (1859-1918) lived for a short while in Russia; Henry Silkstone Hopwood (1860-1914) travelled to Australia, husband and wife Harold and Laura Knight lived in the artistsí colony at Lamorna, Holland; and John Spence Ingall (1850-1936) owned a house in Tangiers, to which he, Hopwood, Fred Jackson, and Mark Senior (1862-1927) would frequently holiday. Consequently, the groupís work is not limited to the Yorkshire Coast, and interesting comparisons can be drawn between their work around Staithes and their work overseas. Before 1901 artists associated with the Staithes Group had exhibited with the Yorkshire Union of Artists which has started in 1887 by Ernest Higgins Rigg (1868-1947) and Rowland Henry Hill (1873-1952), however, in 1901 the Staithes Group separated from the Yorkshire Union of Artists and held an independent exhibition at the Fishermenís Institute in Staithes. The success of the show prompted the formation of a committee and a second show the following year and in 1904, the exhibition was housed at the Anderson Gallery in Whitby but in 1907 the Staithes Art Club, as it was then known, disbanded.