John Atkinson Grimshaw was born in Leeds in 1836 and, after overcoming his parents resistance to his choice of career, became a highly successful and well-liked oil painter of the nineteenth century, known above all for his painting of urban moonlit landscapes.
Much of Grimshaws early work demonstrates an inspiration which stemmed from the writings of John Ruskin and the paintings of the pre-Raphaelites. In addition, Grimshaw made good use of the technology of the day by using photography and the camera obscura to help in the composition of his paintings and in the creation of repeats.
In the 1860s, Grimshaw became fascinated with the effects of moonlight and sunsets on landscapes, townscapes and dockyards in Glasgow, Liverpool, Whitby, London and Scarborough. So successful were his paintings of these scenes that, in 1870, Grimshaw was able to move with his family to a Jacobean house, Knolstrop Hall, in Leeds.
The house and its surroundings became the basis for a number of Grimshaws moonlit masterpieces, which he first showed at The Royal Academy in 1874. His work is now exhibited in prestigious galleries and museums around the world. Grimshaw died in 1893 and several of his children also became successful artists of their day.