FRANK MEADOW SUTCLIFFE
Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, (Hon. F.R.P.S.)1853-1941 born at Headingley Leeds October 6th 1853 to the painter Thomas Sutcliffe and Sarah Lorentia Button. He had an elementary education at a dame school before moving into the new technology of photography.
He set up his own professional photographic studio in a dis-used jet workshop along Waterloo Yard, Whitby in 1875 and eventually established himself in more suitable premises in Skinner Street, Whitby.
He married Eliza Weatherill Duck, the daughter of a local bootmaker January 1st 1875 and had a son and three daughters at his home in Sleights.
Frank Meadow Sutcliffe is probably Whitby's most famous artist. He became a pioneer in his chosen art form - photography.
His large camera was made of mahogany with brass fittings complete with hand bellows and took 'whole plate' glass negatives (6.5"x8.5") using a technique that employed wet collodian, but he soon had to move with the times, turning to the use of dry plates.
Photography in Victorian times was not an easy craft to master and people were often content to produce an acceptable image which was sharp and well exposed - but there were a handful of photographers who wanted to lift their pictures into the heady realms of 'Art' Sutcliffe was one of these.
Despite his awkward equipment, Sutcliffe was able to create images of unsurpassed elegance and sensitivity. His photographs, almost all of Whitby captured a truth not available to those working with brushes or pencils.
Sutcliffe was able to illustrate real life. Each of Sutcliffe's shots had to be carefully composed. His obvious love of Whitby, Staithes and other nearby villages shines through.
He became World famous as one of the greatest exponents of pictorial photography, winning over 60 gold, silver and bronze medals from exhibitions in Tokyo, Vienna, France and the U.S.A. as well as Great Britain.
He was made an honorary member of The Royal Photographic Society in 1935, the highest award attainable.
Sutcliffe retired from photography in 1922 and became curator of the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society, a position he held until his death on May 31st 1941 he was buried in Aislaby churchyard, north of Whitby.
The Promenade Sandsend