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Arthur E. Grimshaw - Glasgow - Night

Arthur E. Grimshaw

Glasgow - Night

Oil on canvas: 11 x 18 (in) / 27.9 x 45.7 (cm)
Signed and dated lower left: Arthur E Grimshaw 1895; signed, dated and inscribed on the stretcher: Glasgow - Night Arthur E. Grimshaw 1895

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1868 - Leeds - 1913

Ref: BZ 133


Glasgow - Night



Signed and dated lower left: Arthur E Grimshaw 1895;

signed, dated and inscribed on the stretcher:

Glasgow - Night  Arthur E. Grimshaw 1895

Oil on canvas: 11 x 18 in / 27.9 x 45.7 cm

Frame size: 16 ½ x 23 ¾ in / 41.9 x 60.3 cm






James Cooper Harding, a gift from the artist, then by descent

Richard Green, London



Arthur Grimshaw’s depiction of Glasgow closely follows his father’s successful compositional structure for dockside nocturnes, balancing the bright, inviting lights of the meticulous shop fronts with the softer, more graphic definition of the mist-covered ships’ masts silhouetted against the night sky. Gas-lights skilfully draw the eye into and across the scene, illuminating carriages and reflections on the wet road, also highlighted by the pale, green light of the unseen moon. Though a relatively small painting, Arthur achieves a great sense of depth in this atmospheric work, the vast amount of detail, from items in the shop windows to the gritty yet reflective road, receding with consummate skill into the hazy distance.


Arthur Grimshaw was the eldest child of John Atkinson and Frances Theodosia Grimshaw and like several of his siblings, inherited his father’s artistic talent. Atkinson taught his children painting and was anxious for them all to join his profession. Though Arthur had great skill, his main passion and vocation was music, which explains the relatively small number of paintings by him dating between 1890-1900. Jane Abdy writes, ‘he ran away from home at the age of seventeen to join an orchestra, and two years later became organist of St Anne’s Church, Leeds, a post he held until his death.’[1] Though Abdy suggests Arthur was later reconciled with his parents, more recently, Jane Sellars writes of Atkinson: ‘He could never quite forgive Arthur for choosing music above painting, although Enid was not quite so maligned for her choice of singing as a career. Louis became a painter and so did Elaine.’[2]


Arthur is recorded as the first Organist and Master of the Choristers of Leeds Cathedral, appointed in 1883 at the age of eighteen and remaining in the post for thirty years.[3] He also wrote and published compositions including a string quartet, a symphony, English folk melodies,[4] and several songs including ‘Twilight time’ and ‘Cradle song,’[5] as well as arranging orchestral pieces by Mr Edward German for the pianoforte at the composer’s request. Local newspaper articles reveal he lectured on Debussy at the Yorkshire Branch of the Incorporated Society of Musicians. Arthur’s numerous roles in the cultural life of Leeds at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century were frequently noted in the local press when he went missing just before his death in 1913.[6]


Arthur Grimshaw’s The Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1895, is in the collection of the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle.


[1] Jane Abdy, ‘Atkinson Grimshaw’s Family’, Atkinson Grimshaw, exh. cat., Alexander Gallery, London, 1976, p.25. See   

  also Alexander Robertson, Atkinson Grimshaw, Phaidon, London, reprinted 2012, p.123.

[2] Jane Sellars, ‘The girl with the umbrella’, Atkinson Grimshaw: Painter of Moonlight, exh. cat., Mercer Art Gallery,

  Harrogate, 2011, p.69.


[4] Breitkopf and Hartel published 2 vols of ‘Old English Tunes: Ballad-tunes and Dances of the 16th and 17th

  Centuries’, harmonized by Mr Arthur E Grimshaw, Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 18th June 1913.

[5] ‘Some new music’, London Evening Standard, 30th December 1897, p.6.

[6] Lancashire Evening Post, 4th August 1913, p.2. ‘The Hawksworth Moor Tragedy’, Leeds Mercury, 4th August, p.3

Other Works By
Arthur E. Grimshaw:

Arthur E. Grimshaw - Prince's Landing Stage, Liverpool


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