Lost artworks rediscovered in attic

Posted on 01st August 2019 | in Community

Katherine Renton discovered her father’s old slides in the attic

For local art lovers of a certain age, the name Arthur Young will bring back many memories of a prolific painter, local character and passionate friend of the Friendliest Port.

And now a discovery has been made which will enable a new generation of people to get to know the work of one of Amble’s most popular painters, and revisit scenes which have changed dramatically over the intervening years.

Arthur Young was a successful commercial artist before moving to Amble in 1972. Born in the heart of Benwell in 1915, Arthur attended evening classes in art as a teenager, and eventually set up his own screen-printing business in Newcastle, which went so well it enabled him to retire comfortably. Arthur moved to Albert Street, opposite the Blue Bell pub, with his family and developed a great love for this area of the coastline. He kept a yacht on the river which enabled him to sail the length of the Northumberland coast, and he quickly established himself as a local artist who specialised in watercolours.

His daughter Katherine remembers her father with fondness and a great deal of pride. “He had a passion for life,” she said, “and he was always happy for us to accompany him on his many adventures on the boat, and on his endless painting trips.”

She remembered an interesting childhood with her two brothers and her mother Eleanor, also a talented professional artist and picture framer.

“The house was full of interesting objects, brought back from our days out and our holidays on the boat, and growing up with two artists meant that art materials were always readily available.”

He was renowned for always painting outside, at the scene of his subjects, and within two or three hours would capture the light and colour of the Northumbrian coastline in every painting.

“He had a natural talent and painting was something that he just had to do,” remembered Katherine with a smile. “He particularly enjoyed painting scenes of Amble, but would also paint views of Bamburgh, Holy Island and anywhere else that caught his eye.”

Arthur Young was one of Amble’s most popular landscape painters

After his death in 1994 aged 78, the family gathered up his possessions, and gradually moved on with their lives. Eleanor continued to paint, Katherine followed in her parents’ footsteps and became a successful artist and art teacher, Peter is now a Professor of Solar Physics in America, working for NASA, while younger brother Brian became an engineer. And the family would often be asked about Arthur’s paintings and how people might buy his work.

“I tell people they have to look in auctions,” said Katherine, “because the originals do still come up from time to time. Sadly, we don’t have many of his works at all. But three months ago I was in the attic and I discovered a large number of old slides. I held the first one up to the light and realised it was an image of one of my Dad’s paintings, with the title ‘Completing Amble Marina 1987’.

“A dredger is pictured between the pontoons and the West Jetty, and no yachts can be seen in the marina. Looking through the slides really brought home the love he had for Amble and the coast, and I realised that they now serve to show part of the history of Amble Harbour.”

Katherine has had some of the slides made into high quality giclée prints, and is looking for spaces to exhibit them. The prints depict Amble and the nearby coastline, and were mostly painted in the 1970s and 80s.

The first exhibition is taking place this summer in the Cock and Bull micropub in Amble Town Square. After that, she hopes to display some in the Old Boat House and in other venues.

The prints will be for sale at these venues, and you can contact Katherine directly via email: info@katherine-renton.co.uk

Anna Williams

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8 thoughts on "Lost artworks rediscovered in attic"

  1. Kim Scott says:

    Ah what a lovely story your dad would be so pry of you all x

  2. Julia Sensiba says:


    You must be so proud of your Father – he was a wonderful artist. I have two of his original paintings, both are hanging in my living room here in France. The painting above my computer table is of the Amble shore and Coquet Island. Very moody and lovely. The other painting is less moody, with lighter colors and is of Shilbottle Corner. I believe I purchased the paintings when your Father was still painting!

    My grandparents lived in Amble and if it were possible I would move back there.

    I wish you all the best and would have loved to visit the show of your Father’s work.

    Amble seems to have a great abundance of talented people. I have a collection of Jimmy Thompson’s paintings. Jimmy is another artist I consider to be great.


    Julia Sensiba

  3. Anne Cleghorn says:

    Hello. I have an original Arthur Young,painting.Its off Longhirst parish church,Longhirst Village Northumberland. I bought it because my friends lived in Longhirst they are no longer with us but their funeral was at this church I would like to sell it to someone who lives in this village it’s such a lovely painting by Arthur it’s from 1985 kind Regards.

  4. Alan Gowland says:

    I worked for your dad for 10 years from leaving school in 1964 to when l emigrated to Canada in 1974. Arthur was a brilliant artist and signwriter.
    His paintings could be found in any pub or hotel owned or ran by Scottish & Newcastle Breweries during those years. Whenever they built or bought a new premises, Arthur would drive to the location and paint a whole bunch of watercolours of scenes from around the area. He also did the murals in what was then the Victoria & Comet opposite the Central Station in Newcastle. I think that was before the war. They were still there in the late 60’s.
    I have a few prints of his paintings. All of Amble, all very good but not a patch on the originals.
    A nicer man you could never meet.
    It was a privilege to have known him.

    Kind regards.

  5. Thankyou Alan, your memories are of great interest to me as they refer to his life before I was born and provide a more complete picture of him. My Dad did mention that one of his murals was in a pub opposite the Central Station, and he claimed that it featured in a scene of the film Get Carter, starring Michael Caine – your comment may help to confirm this.
    Thankyou for your very kind words about my father, they mean a great deal.

  6. B. Loughrey says:

    My son has just bought four paintings by Arthur Young. They are of Manchester scenes and were painted around 1972 but of an earlier period, 1920/1930. If this is the same Arthur Young I wondered if he left a note of the actual area he painted as we are struggling to identify one of the paintings location. Thanks.

  7. Katherine says:

    As the daughter of Arthur Young I’m very familiar with Arthur Young’s life story, and I have to say that he never mentioned ever going to Manchester. Also, he was not painting scenes in the 1920s and 30s – he was born in 1915, so those dates seem too early. I can only assume that this is an artist with the same name! It would be interesting to see the paintings though, just to make sure.

  8. Pamela Lieff says:

    While living on the sea front in Alnmouth in the late “80’s, I had the good fortune to watch Arthur paint , and eventually I introduced myself.
    My Canadian accent amused Arthur, as I also could speak Geordy…( my mother & extended family are from Tynemouth) we shared quite a few laughs.
    With me today, are the three original landscapes of views from my house, as seen and painted for me by Arthur.
    I now live on the Salish Sea on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
    I believe that Arthur would have thoroughly enjoyed painting the breathtaking landscapes here as well.

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