John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893)
John Atkinson Grimshaw was a Victorian painter, born on 6 September 1836 at 9 Back Park Street, Leeds, the third son of six children of David Grimshaw, a policeman, and his wife, Mary Atkinson. In 1842 Grimshaw's family moved to Norwich but in 1848 they moved back to Leeds, and the family kept a grocer's shop in Brunswick Row. By 1852 Grimshaw had obtained a position as a clerk with the Great Northern Railway Company. He had begun to paint by the late 1850s and does not seem to have received any formal training as an artist.
In 1856 Grimshaw married his cousin, Frances Theodosia, daughter of James Dibdin Hubbard, editor of the Wakefield Journal. The couple first lived in Wallace Street, New Wortley, Leeds.
In 1861 Grimshaw gave up his railway job to paint full time. His early paintings, influenced by the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, were small in scale and consisted of still-life studies of birds' nests, fruit and flowers, and woodland scenes. An important influence was the Leeds-based painter of Pre-Raphaelite landscapes John William Inchbold (1830-1888), a friend of John Ruskin. By the late 1860s Grimshaw had turned to the depiction of moonlight, which was to become a notable feature of his work.
By 1870, he was successful and prosperous enough to be able to rent Knostrop Old Hall, a 17th century stone-built manor house near Temple Newsam. Old Hall remained the Grimshaw family's main home for the next 23 years.
Grimshaw often stayed at Scarborough in the summer months. He first rented a house there, which he called Castle-by-the-Sea, in the late 1870s. Perched on the cliff top just below Scarborough Castle, near St Mary's Church, it has magnificent views of both the north and south bays.
Atkinson Grimshaw died on 31 October 1893 at Knostrop Old Hall, and was buried in Woodhouse cemetery in Leeds.
Knostrop Old Hall was demolished in 1960.