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.

A Georgian Courtship - Love Letters from William Burton of Hotham Hall to Dorothy Anderson of Kilnwick Percy

Monument to William Burton

Fifty years ago I came across a bundle of letters, in the Anderson family papers in Lincolnshire Archives Office, written by William Burton, son of the builder of Hotham Hall to Dorothy Anderson, second daughter of Sir Edmund Anderson Bt, of Kilnwick Percy Hall. The Burton’s were newcomers to landed society, but the Andersons had been long established in ... (read more...)

Books Less Read.

Tobias Smollett

Two elements make up the Society’s name: ‘Georgian’ and East Yorkshire’. Tobias Smollett’s novels are set in the Georgian age as William Hogarth illustrated it: earthy, crowded, human, real. George Orwell thought Smollett Scotland’s best novelist. Try Roderick Random, Peregrine Pickle, Humphry Clinker. Walter Scott’s most convincing novels are those set nearest his own time and in landscape he ... (read more...)

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...)

Hymns and their tunes during the Georgian period- and some of the characters involved in their production: Part 1


I have at home a tiny bound copy of “Church Services” from 1856 which has at the back “A New Version of the Psalms of David fitted to the tunes used in churches by N Brady, DD and N. Tate, Esq.”. This metrical Psalter first appeared in 1696, not entirely supplanting the 1562 Sternhold and Hopkins, referred to as ... (read more...)

Hymns and their tunes during the Georgian period- and some of the characters involved in their production: Part 2

Charles Wesley

And now for the people. Oh dear- the people! Aspiring singers were encouraged to add trills and other graces at their own discretion (or lack of it), instructed by such as Arnold’s “Compleat Psalmodist” (1750) and various peripatetic tutors who would travel from village to village giving classes. The practice was exported to America, as bemoaned by Rev T ... (read more...)

Roger Lewis: My encounters with ‘Georgian’ literature

The history of the adventures of Joseph Andrews and of his friend Mr Abraham Adams

To keep us going during this difficult ‘lockdown’ period, Stephen gave us an interesting reading list (literature of the Georgian period) – see the entry for 28 March 2020. This prompted me to consider my own early encounters with Georgian literature. Literature of our period was not much favoured in schools of the 1950s/1960s (I suspect even less so ... (read more...)

Two 18th-century Elopements in the Beverley area

Georgian Elopement

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice 16-year-old Lydia Bennet writes the following note to the woman who had been acting as her chaperone: ‘You will laugh when you know where I am gone, and I cannot help laughing myself at your surprise tomorrow morning, as soon as I am missed. I am going to Gretna Green, and if you ... (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...)

A Not Very Georgian Jane Austen: is there a Yorkshire connection?

Jane Austen and Charles Edward Stuart

By Jane Payne. It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen must be in want of a re-interpretation. So there’s the proto-feminist Jane, the anti-slavery Jane, the anti-capitalist Jane, the Freudian Jane, the Andrew Davies wet shirt Jane. There’s Jane Marple Austen: a country house or village location, characters deceiving one another, clues parading before the clever reader, ... (read more...)

Gentleman Jack and the East Riding

Anne Lister

For almost half her life the diarist Anne Lister, ‘Gentleman Jack’ of the hit TV series, lived in the East Riding. Anne was the daughter of Captain Jeremy Lister of Halifax and Rebecca Battle, daughter of a successful Hull grocer William Battle who lived at Welton Hall. Jeremy and Rebecca were married at Welton on 2 August 1788. They ... (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...)

In this section

Related Products

See also

Related News

Related Links