Art I LOVE: Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, – A Bygone way of Life

a whitby street
a whitby street

I have always  loved these sepia photographs by Victorian Frank Meadow Sutcliffe (b. 1853 – 1941).  I have several  framed prints.  Although posed, there is a certain lack of self consciousness in a lot of these photographs.   It did help that Sutcliffe actually knew these villagers.  The fisher people are  my favorite portraits.  The character of these people shine  through their faces.  Theirs wasn’t an easy life, battling against the elements in order to live.  They were hardy people though with loads of grit, as evidenced in their portraits.


Henry Freeman Lifesboat man and hero
Henry Freeman Lifesboat man and hero

Although born in Leeds Yorkshire, Sutcliffe seems to have been fascinated by Whitby and it’s people, capturing  lots of its rural life  and some of the surrounding villages on his camera. Sutcliffe  had his studio in Whitby and lived just outside.

halcyon days
halcyon days

Sutcliffe chronicles a life that has all but disappeared.  From capturing  everyday working life to even the leisurely way people and animals moved down the lane.  At work and at play, you get the feeling that these people communicated  and cared for one another.  There is a sense of community which I find quite charming.

A reassuring sense of community
A reassuring sense of community

  Read all about this interesting photographer here

whitby  harbour
whitby harbour

The Sutcliffe Gallery UK  is a rich source of Sutcliffe’s photographs.  You can buy postcards and even framed prints here

The Sutcliffe Gallery Australia, lots of additional information on individual photos here

8 thoughts on “Art I LOVE: Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, – A Bygone way of Life

  1. I was in Whitby just under two weeks ago, and loved the place. It’s interesting to see it as it was when it was more of a working town than a tourist town.

    Wonderful photos–thanks for posting.

  2. You’re welcome Jane! There’s something about sepia photographs isn’t there? Somehow you don’t need the colour, you can just feel it lol!
    Kind Regards

  3. I have 6 beautiful repos by Frank Meadowcroft Sutcliffe, “Catching Newts”, “The Dock End, Whitby 1880”, “Under the Wing of St. Mary’s Church”, “Fishermen by the Harbor Rail”, “Girls Scaning Mussels” and “The Ingathering”. These repos include the signature of “Frank M. Sutcliffe in the right bottom corner and “c The Sutcliffe Gallery” in very small print in the middle of the repos – the size of each is 15 5/8 inches by 11 1/4 inches. They are in a 1993 calendar issued by “Clark’s International LTD, trading as Larkhill Polymer Products, Yeovil, Somerset B.A.21, England”.
    Could you kindly give me their value? Thank you very much – Ruth Rosser, Foley, Alabama, USA

  4. I absolutely love the stunning photographs they really capture the atmosphere, they have inspired me in my paintings of whitby, so thankyou, just wish there were more old photos taken showing more history

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