Inspirational Beck Hole

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Did Algernon Newton stand here too. ???


One of the many artists who visit Beckhole

Beck Hole must always have been a special place, attracting those of an artistic temperament and bringing out the latent talent of those who visited or  lived here. 

On any day in summer you are likely to find someone engrossed in the singular pleasure of capturing the spirit of Beck Hole on paper or canvas, and few visitors leave without taking at least a photograph.




  Algernon Newton hangs his painting on the Inn wall

  Algernon Newton hangs his second painting outside the Birch Hall Inn

The famous oil painting outside the Birch Hall Inn

A photograph of the first oil painting which succumbed to the weather

LOCAL GALLERIES.........................................

To find out how contemporary artists see the area visit a few of our super  galleries nearby ..

phone them for their location, opening times and to find out about current exhibitions

  • Grosmont Gallery & Jazz Café 
  •        01947 895007

  • Michelle Saunders Studio, Lythe
  •        01947 893565

  • Turnstone Gallery, Sandsend
  •       01947 893289

  • Pybus Fine Arts, Whitby
  •       01947 820028

  • Forge Gallery, Robin Hoods Bay 
  •       01947 881049

A permanent exhibition of local interest including paintings of the esteemed Staithes Group,is at the Pannett Park Museum and Gallery ,Whitby

A new Gallery is  now open in Staithes featuring well known artists who follow in the footsteps of the original Staithes group in their fascination with capturing the light and spirit of this wonderful coastline..

phone for more information            01947 841840





Perhaps the most famous connection to the artworld is

  Algernon Newton RA.

Born in Hampstead in 1880, the third generation of his father's family to make a name for himself in painting, he lived and studied in and around

with a brief time in Cornwall between 1916 -- 1919. Indeed it was his grandfather who set up, in 1832, the firm of art materials suppliers that still survives as Windsor & Newton

He painted townscapes and landscapes and was one of more than thirty artists who were chosen to produce murals and artefacts for the decoration of The Queen Mary. 

Elected to the Royal Academy in 1943. He was a good friend of Dame Laura Knight, a respected member of the famous Staithes Group of Artists who took particular pleasure in the people and places of our coastline. Could it have been she who introduced him to the beauty of North Yorkshire ?

He came to live in Beck Hole in 1941, a good time to be out of war worn London, and stayed until 1948.

Until 1940 there were two inns here, The Birch Hall Inn and The Black Bull  later re-named The Lord Nelson. Algernon Newton lived in The Lord Nelson after it had closed and converted the upper floor into a studio. Whilst living at The Lord Nelson he painted an inn sign for the surviving public house, The Birch Hall Inn, and gave it to the landlady, Mrs Schofield, in gratitude for many happy hours spent there.

She later passed into the care of the Parish.

The Lord Nelson

The Lord Nelson Inn




The painting still hangs outside and shows the view of the Murk Esk in its steep sided gorge as it flows past the pub and under the bridge ...look carefully and you can still recognise it if you spend a few minutes on the bridge today...

tho' trees have grown and successive high rivers have shuffled the rocks around !





This is a photo of his first picture, an impression of the inn as it may have looked many years earlier. Unfortunately it succumbed to the rigours of the weather and in 1944 was replaced by the one above, which he painted on a metal sheet. It's easy to see the similarity of the hillside and lone tree in the background






Lord Leighton of Stretton

One of the earliest artistic connections I know about came via the Leighton family, who owned property in & around Beck Hole in the 1600's.

Successive generations lived in Beck Hole until 1741 when they moved to Scarborough , and in later years,London. It's a descendant of theirs, one Frederic Leighton, eventually First Baron Leighton, who became a very famous painter, sculptor and exhibitor at The Royal Academy, and was elected president of the RA in 1896.

Several of his paintings became best sellers in photo-gravure reproduction and one of his original works was purchased by Queen
Victoria,for £8,500. The Antiques Road Show has featured one of his bronze sculptures and an oil painting. The latter in a programme in February 1992 and said to be valued at £20,000 .


Douglas Reay

More recently we have had the local writer and artist Douglas Reay who lived in a Linden Lea, a tiny cottage on the green overlooking the quiot pitch, until the ealy 1980's. He added a glass porch to his home and it's said passers by were always welcome to go in for a look round and a chat. 

He contributed Nature Notes to various publications and was a keen illustrator and produced his own unique style of engravings depicting wildlife and local scenes.
.... below is a photocopy of one of Douglas Reays works kindly sent to me by Mr B Stevenson. Showing the Birch Hall Inn from the village green.

A copy of one of Douglas Reay's etchings

Hilary Davis of Norfolk recently came across this engraving of a  different view of  Beckhole in an auction and kindly sent me a copy