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All the artists painted within the Parish of Hinderwell to which the villages of Staithes and Runswick Bay belong. Staithes is still pronounced by locals as 'Steers' and Runswick has always been pronounced Runsick, without the w, as is the case with almost all English place names with that suffix.
The railway came to Staithes in 1883 and with it arrived a slow but steady influx of artists, entranced by the many aspects of the village which made it an ideal subject for them: the ever-changing skies and qualities of light; the moods and movement of the sea; fishing cobbles both moored and tossed around by powerful waves; the picturesque huddle of cottages; the expansive landscape of the North York Moors, and, most of all the people themselves who lived along this extraordinarily wild and beautiful coast.
They came from Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham and a number from even further afield. Some settled in Staithes and the surrounding area; others spent only the summer there. At least ten of them had studied at the Académie Julian in Paris and a number more at other continental studios. This was at a time when the Barbizon School had exerted its influence on the French Impressionist artists and plein air painting was becoming increasingly popular with painters. Yorkshire had its own Impressionist artists to emulate, particularly Scarborough-born Henry Barlow Carter and George Weatherill who came from Staithes itself. Exposure to the work of artists from Newlyn added to this rich blend of influences which ran through the work of all members of the Staithes Group.
A number of the Group were friendly with artists based in or near to London, and whose work was consequently better known at a national level. The ever-present North-South divide encourages one to assume that Fred Mayor was influenced by the work of his southern-based friends, Sir Frank Brangwyn, Walter Richard Sickert and Philip Wilson Steer. The latter was also a good friend of Mark Senior. Laura Knight spoke of a number of influences on Mayor's work, but there is no reason to believe that his work, often innovatory, did not, in turn, influence other artists. Within the Group we know that Laura Johnson and Harold Knight were taught by Thomas Barratt and that Mackie's colour theories impacted on Laura, that Hedley gave lessons to the young Rowland Hill, that Mark Senior taught Florence Hess and Gilbert Foster taught Owen Bowen.
The greatest influence on all these artists, however, was the area itself, its people and the effect of the climate and weather conditions on the subjects they painted.
The following 42 artists have all been considered to be members or associates of the Group, although further primary source research is refining many earlier assumptions.
Edward Enoch Anderson R.B.A. 1878 - 1961; John Atkinson* 1863 - 1924; Joseph Richard Bagshawe R.B.A. 1870 - 1909; Thomas Barrett A.R.E. 1845 - 1924; James William Booth R.Cam.A. 1867 - 1953; Owen Bowen R.O.I. P.R.Cam.A. 1873 - 1967; John Bowman N.S.A.1872 - 1923; Andrew Charles Colley c.1859 - 1910; Harold E. Conway 1872 - 1949; Lionel Townsend Crawshaw R.W.S. 1864 - 1949; Ernest Dade N.E.A.1864 - 1935; Charles Cutts Elmhirst 1872 - 1937; William Gilbert Foster R.B.A. 1855 - 1906; Arthur A. Friedenson 1872 - 1955; Sidney Valentine Gardner N.S.A. c.1869 - 1957; Leandro Roman Garrido R.O.I. 1869 - 1909; Ralph Hedley R.B.A.* 1851 - 1913; Florence Hess 1891 - 1974; Rowland Henry Hill 1873 - 1952; Henry Silkstone Hopwood R.W.S. 1860 - 1914; John William Howey 1873 - 1938; John Spence Ingall 1850 - 1936; Frederic William Jackson N.E.A. R.B.A. 1859 - 1918; Isa Jobling (nee Thompson)* 1851 - 1926; Robert Jobling* 1841 - 1923; Harold Knight R.A. R.O.I. R.P. 1874 - 1961; Laura Knight (nee Johnson) D.B.E. R.A. R.W.S. R.E. 1877 - 1970; Charles Hodge Mackie R.S.A. R.S.W. 1862 - 1920; Frank Henry Mason R.B.A. R.O.I. 1875 - 1965; Hannah Mayor (nee Hoyland) 1871 - 1947; William Frederick (Fred) Mayor 1866 - 1916; Paul Paul R.B.A. 1865 - 1937; Frederic Stuart Richardson R.S.W. R.I. R.O.I. 1855 - 1934; Ernest Higgins Rigg 1868 - 1947; Mark Senior 1862 - 1927; Albert George Stevens 1863 - 1925; Percy Morton Teasdale R.Cam.A. 1870 - 1961; Joseph Alfred Terry R.B.A. 1872 - 1939; Hon. Duff Tollemache 1859 - 1936; Hirst Walker 1868 - 1957; James Watson* 1851 - 1936 and John Wright R.E. 1857 - 1933.
* Also members of the Bewick Club, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and of the Cullercoats Colony