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Boothby Pagnell artist Frank Scarbrough’s magnificent paintings sell well at auction

By Frank William Scarbrough
By Frank William Scarbrough

Boothby Pagnell artist Frank William Scarbrough left only £113 in his will when he died in 1945, but on Wednesday afternoon, 70 years after his death, four of his watercolour paintings sold for £4,500.

Although he was born in land-locked Boothby Pagnell, Scarbrough developed at a life-long love affair with the sea, boats and the Thames and that is confirmed in the pictures of his which came up for sale.

By Frank William Scarbrough
By Frank William Scarbrough

Three of the Scarbrough watercolours are of the Thames, while the other is of the Yorkshire fishing port of Whitby.

Three paintings each sold for £1,000, while a fourth, The Tower Bridge, London, sold for £1,500 at the auction at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London.

The 14-inch by 21-inch picture, titled Boats Moored At Whitby, which sold for £1,000 is not dated, but Arthur Credland, marine art expert and former Keeper of Maritime History at Hull Maritime Museum, said: “I would say that the type of steam trawler (featured in the picture) and the general feel of the painting it would (date from) about 1910.”

Veronique Scorer, head of the marine art department at London auctioneers Bonhams, said: “As an artist Scarbrough’s atmospheric watercolours have a strong following. We usually see Scarbrough’s Thames scenes at our marine sales. His Whitby views are rare and can therefore do quite well at auction.”

By Frank William Scarbrough
By Frank William Scarbrough

Haynes Fine Arts, based at Broadway, Worcestershire, has sold several Scarbrough paintings over the years.

It said: “Scarbrough belongs to that group of Edwardian artists who worked until the 1930s and include such well known marine artists as Charles Napier Hemy, William Lionel Wyllie and Charles Dixon.

“Apart from Hemy, who was in a class of his own, Scarbrough was probably the most interesting of the group, because his work was painted in an impressionistic style that owed nothing to the traditional style of marine painting, but was influenced by Albert Marquet or Camille Pissarro’s The Docks of Rouen, Morning.

“Scarbrough painted mainly in watercolours, often taking his subject matter the busy shipping in the Pool of London, where ocean-going liners battled for space with soot-grimed tugs and barges in the murky waters of the Thames.”

Scarbrough was born Frederick William Scarbrough, although he preferred to be known as Frank, at Boothby Pagnell in the fourth quarter of 1864, and was the younger son of Hanby-born farmer James Scarbrough and his Humby-born wife, Eleanor.

In 1881, Scarborough was lodging with a Mrs Hall at 5 George Street, Grantham, but in 1901 he was again living with his father at South Street, Folkingham. In 1911, he was back in Grantham, lodging with the Coy family at 11 Launder Terrace, Grantham.

Then, in 1937, he found love and happiness and married for the first time – at the age of 73.

He wed Clara Hope Heal (nee Smith), widow of George Heal, landlord of The Granby Inn, at 6 Market Place, Grantham.

Scarbrough was 81 when he died at 25 Castlegate, Grantham, on March 17, 1945.

In his will, he left just £103 two shillings and sixpence, or £113.13p in modern money.


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