Georgian Society for East Yorkshire

Georgian Art, Literature & Music in East Yorkshire

Laurence Sterne

Laurence Sterne

East Yorkshire partook in the artistic pleasures of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century like other parts of the country. And it had its own personalities to contribute, too.

John Ward, born in Hull, has been described as "the leading marine artist and ship portrait painter in Hull during the first half of the 19th century". Apprenticed as a house and ship painter, he exhibited his artwork in 1827 onward and went on to specialise in local maritime and shipping scenes.

Though the region's best known writers come from before and after this period, another native of Hull, William Mason, was a poet whose work was well regarded in its time. Historian John Bigland was born in Skirlaugh, and composed articles and other works inspired by his own religious scepticism. James Evans, born in Hull, emigrated to Canada and is well known for inventing writing systems for native languages Ojibwe and Cree.

Beverley was a centre for music during the period, hosting a number of music festivals. New organs were installed in the Minster and in St. Mary's during the period. The Minster's organ was one of the few in the country to have pedals before the Victorian era.

George Atkinson


George Atkinson (1800-49) was organist at St Mary’s Lowgate in Hull from 1820 to 1849. He was the son of William Atkinson who advertised himself as a “music master” in Bishop Lane Hull in 1806 and later mover to 42 Whitefriargate. George was a pupil of S.S. Wesley, Ferdinand Reis and Beethoven. He taught piano and sold music at ... (read more...)

John Ward, Maritime Artist

Stoneferry, by John Ward

One of the a number of well-known artists to come from our region, John Ward was born in Hull in 1798. His father, Abraham Ward, was a master mariner and painter. John was educated, and became an apprentice house painter. He was listed as a house and ship painter in his own right by 1826, when he was listed ... (read more...)

William Mason, Hull Poet

William Mason

William Mason was born in Hull in 1724. He was educated at Hull Grammar School, and later went to St John's College, Cambridge. His poem "Musaeus, a Monody on the Death of Mr. Pope" was published in 1747. Mason makes poets from history, such as Chaucer and Spenser, mourn Alexander Pope's death in imitations of their own styles. The ... (read more...)

Music in Beverley

Beverley Market

Beverley saw a great musical scene during the eighteenth century, with many musicians living in the town. From the 1750s, subscription concerts were held in the Assembly Rooms in North Bar Within. Private concerts were also common, one possibly being mentioned in 1762 at which airs from the Messiah were performed by a visiting singer from Newcastle. The town ... (read more...)

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