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www.nadfas.org.ukNADFAS REVIEW / WINTER201023GRIMSHAW

John AtkinsonGrimshaw was one ofthe mostsuccessful artists of his day. As with allVictorian art, in the 20th century hispaintings went out of favour - althoughGrimshaw himself did not live longenough either to see his style of paintingplummet in popularity, or to suffer theignominy of having his work sell forgrudgingly low prices. His paintingsGRIMSHAW24NADFAS REVIEW / WINTER 2010www.nadfas.org.uktoday enjoy a remarkablerenaissance that started 40 years agoand that continues to push Grimshawinto the top of the ranks of most desiredVictorian artists. A number of Grimshawexhibitions were held in the 1960s and1970s, but it is 30 years since the lastexhibition of his work, curated byAlexander Robertson for Leeds City ArtGallery, Southampton, and Liverpool'sWalker Art Gallery, took place. Since thattime, a whole new audience hasClockwise fromtop:NightfallDown theThames, 1880;On the Tees,Barnard Castle,1868; In Peril,1879; The Towerof Londondrawingemerged for Grimshaw's evocativemoonlit scenes.Grimshaw was a self-taught artist whoworked in the north of England in thesecond half of the 19th century. Hedefied his strictly religious parents andleft a good job with the railway tobecome an artist, and rapidly made aname for himself as a painter; first forPre-Raphaelite-style landscapes, andthen for his interpretation of the Victoriancity and the new urban experience of itsinhabitants. Grimshaw enjoyedconsiderable success in his career, andtook his brood of children to live in somesplendour at Knostrop Hall, a large oldrented house in Leeds, with a spell ofseveral years spent in similar style livingin Scarborough. He worked prolificallyand gathered around him a group ofdedicated patrons and collectors.Grimshaw was constantly on the lookoutfor ways of making money in order tosupport his large family. He was notafraid to experiment, making theatricalfairy paintings and allegorical portraits ofImages: © Leeds City Art Gallery