The Crawhall family of the North East is one of the most ancient in the region. Between the late 18th and mid 19th centuries there were three members whose artistry has since been recognised as among the most distinctive the region has produced. The collection contains works from each of these three artists.
Joseph Crawhall the first (1793 – 1853) amateur landscape, figure and animal artist, caricaturist, lithographer, etcher and wood engraver was apprenticed as a ropemaker as a young boy and subsequently became the owner of St Anne’s Ropery in Newcastle upon Tyne and an affluent member of the Newcastle society of the time.
He served as Sheriff and Mayor, was a magistrate and held other important local offices but he never lost his love of drawing, often filling his account books with sketches.
Joseph Crawhall the second (1821 - 1896) inherited his father’s artistic talents. He was interested in writing and painting and his interests in angling, music and antiquarianism is reflected in his art.
He was fascinated by the past and this led to a specific interest in reproducing the kind of woodcuts and engravings associated with ancient chapbooks and ballad sheets. Although medieval glass and manuscripts were part of his inspiration, other decisive influences included the work of Thomas Bewick, which he much admired.
Joseph Crawhall the third (1861-1913) one of Northumberland’s most talented animal and bird painters would go on to distinguish himself as a member of the ‘Glasgow Boys’ by virtue of having studied and worked there. His father introduced him to the practice of working from memory and never correcting his work, which remained with the artist for the rest of his life and contributed to the distinctiveness of his work.
In addition to his work in oil and water-colour Crawhall was an accomplished illustrator in line drawing.