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    Description

    Attributed to JOHN ATKINSON GRIMSHAW (British 1836-1893)
    Gloucester Dock, 1890
    Oil on canvas
    12 x 18 inches (30.5 x 45.7 cm)
    Signed lower left [strengthened]: Atkinson Grimshaw 1890
    Signed, titled and dated on verso

    John Atkinson Grimshaw scholar, Alexander Robertson, has kindly examined the present work from photographs, and has noted that it is one of five versions of this subject known to him, one of which he rejected as an autograph work by the artist some years ago. While he noted that from photographs alone he was unable to give a definitive opinion on this painting's authorship, Mr. Robertson offered the following observations in email correspondence with Heritage on October 28, 2007: "What struck me immediately about the present painting is that the signature has been 'gone over,' which is unusual but has been seen on other Grimshaws when someone has wished to change the attribution to Atkinson from his son Arthur's name. Having said this, however, the underlying name does seem to be Atkinson. The top version is a crude attempt to imitate the artist's usual way of signing. Various other parts of this work are unconvincing especially the cathedral tower which seems very wobbly! Also I do not like the various highlight effects on the end of the barge in rather crude green paint. Of course there is the possibility that this was an unfinished picture left lying around and someone else finished it later."

    John Atkinson Grimshaw was a later nineteenth-century British landscape painter who worked in a meticulous manner associated with Pre-Raphaelite painting. He was born in Leeds into modest circumstances and to parents who were strict Baptists. His mother so strongly disapproved of his interest in painting that on one occasion she destroyed all his paints. Despite the resistance of his family, Grimshaw, who worked as a clerk at the Great Northern Railway office in Leeds, eventually decided to become a full-time painter in 1861. He first became popular in Leeds, working initially as a figurative painter (a la Holman Hunt, one of his earliest inspirations), then as a still-life painter, and later specialized in moonlit scenes along the Thames and other waterways, and narrow city streets illuminated by gaslight as well. When William Agnew became his dealer in London, Grimshaw's fortunes changed. By 1870 he was in a position to buy Knostrop Old Hall, a large seventeenth-century manor house two miles from Leeds. There, he and his wife Fanny had fifteen children although only six reached adulthood.

    Grimshaw was a major force in establishing the Leeds City Art Gallery. He campaigned for it vigorously since it was first suggested by Edmund Bates in 1862, and after a long struggle it was eventually opened in 1888. The Gallery mounted annual spring exhibitions in which Grimshaw was always represented.

    We are grateful to Alexander Robertson, former Senior Curator at Leeds City Art Gallery, for his kind assistance in cataloguing this lot. He is the author of Atkinson Grimshaw 1836-1893, exh. cat. Leeds, Southampton and Liverpool, 1980, and Atkinson Grimshaw, Phaidon, Oxford, 1988.


    Condition Report*: Original canvas
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    6th-7th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,389

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    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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