The three ancient Ridings of Yorkshire and the adjoining Humber estuary are home to some of Britain’s most dramatic and beautiful landscape, its finest monastic ruins, richest aristocratic estates and greatest industrial cities. Naturally the region’s landscape, its history and its tradition of artistic patronage have attracted and nourished artists from the seventeenth century to Hockney in the twentieth.
Ruined castles, monasteries and wild scenery appealed to the antiquarians and travellers of the eighteenth century and the Romantic artists of the early nineteenth, including J. M. W. Turner, who had a special relationship with the region. The ancient port of Hull was the centre of a school of marine and ship painters. As the great industrial cities of Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield grew in the nineteenth century, new patrons emerged who encouraged contemporary artists such as Atkinson Grimshaw. At the end of the century improved transport links enabled isolated and picturesque fishing villages such as Staithes to become home to artists’ colonies.