The Staithes group or Staithes School was an art colony of 19th Century painters based in the North Yorkshire fishing village of Staithes. It was inspired by the French impressionists and consisted of about 25 artists.
The group contained renowned artists such as Laura Knight and Harold Knight, Frederick W Jackson Edward E Anderson, Joseph R Bagshawe, Thomas Barrett and James W booth.
Another member known as the "Turner of the North" was George Weatherill.
With the coming of the railway many more British Impressionists were drawn to the town to paint its towering cliffs, wild seas, battered cottages and resilient fisher folk.
I must admit that before coming to Whitby I had never read about this group but did some research after visiting the gallery in Whitby and seeing some of their paintings there.
The Staithes art gallery continues the tradition of art in the area and there is still an art community centre and they have an annual Festival of Arts and Heritage. This year they had about 98 Galleries in cottages and other buildings around the village displaying work by over 157 artists from near and far. An impressive history and interesting information about a group I had not heard much of before.
After a look around the gallery we started our walk back. One of the topics of conversation was why this small fishing village had become the home to a famous group of artists when there are hundreds of similar villages around Britain.
We could understand why groups flourish in the big cities like London or Paris but an almost random place suddenly becomes known for a particular style or group perplexed us. Without the internet it must have been word of mouth that inspired artists to one place at a particular time and made this place world famous.
It will be interesting on our travels to look further into this phenomena.
The modern Gallery at Staithes