Early 20th Century
Church Square, Whitby

Watercolour on paper, monogrammed ‘PP’ and dated ’46’ bottom left
Image size: 14 3/4 x 10 inches (37.5 x 25.5 cm)
Contemporary frame


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This watercolour shows Church Square in the seaside town of Whitby, one of the most famous and popular seaside towns in North Yorkshire. Here, focus is given to the Edwardian townhouses that frame the square and on the right hand side of the scene we are given a glimpse of St Hilda Catholic Church, a late Victorian style church built in 1844. The church remains to this day a Grade II listed building.

Whitby has a long standing history with the artistic community, the development of the railway into Whitby through the 19th Century was a major factor in the expansion of tourism in the area. It made the area much more accessible to artists, many of whom were attracted to the picturesque fishing industry and coastal scenes.

The Staithes Group of Artists was an art colony who painted as a group in Whitby and along the Yorkshire coast around the turn of the 20th century and became an important part of the local community. While the group disbanded in 1907 many of the members chose to stay in the area to live and work, encouraging artistic production in the region for many decades to come.