John Atkinson Grimshaw 1836 - 1893
Just in case you think I was fooling - John Atkinson Grimshaw really did exist and really did earn a fortune as an artist towards the end of the Victorian era. Above, you can see his painting of the Humber Docks, Hull dated 1882. In the very centre of the picture next to the domes of the dock offices you can see the city's statue of William Wilberforce on a column rising out of the gloom. After the Humber Dock was filled in, Wilberforce's statue was moved to the end of what is now Queen's Gardens.
In 2009, when this painting was sold at Sotheby's in London, it raised the princely sum of £400,000 making it the priciest painting of Hull ever sold. A very similar painting by Grimshaw hangs in Hull's Ferens Art Gallery. It is called "Princes Dock, Hull" and was also created in 1882. Look closely and you may spot some differences. I remember at the start of the nineteen seventies, as an A level Art student, marvelling at this picture and wondering just how Grimshaw had created those dramatic lighting effects.