I’ve been a long admirer of the Marine Painter and Poster Artist Frank Henry Mason. Over the years one of my clients has collected Frank Henry Mason’s work and I’ve had the privilage of organising new conservation mounts for the paintings to go into.
In a blog post from 2012 I wrote about Frank Henry Mason which was picked up by a gentleman called Edward Yardley. “Ed” had written about Frank Henry Mason back in 1996 and to cut a long story short, I was able to introduce him to my client. The result of their meeting is a lovely new book about Frank Mason by Edward Yardley and a series of major exhibitions of Frank Henry Mason’s art over the next few months.
The first exhibition opened last night at Hartlepool Art Gallery in Church Square. It opens to the public Saturday 21st March and runs until the 30th May 2015. I went to the preview evening and I have to say, it’s probably the finest exhibition I’ve seen in the North East since the Winslow Homer Exhibition in 1988 at the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art in Sunderland.
Frank Henry Mason’s varied artistic skills are clearly evident in his delightful watercolours of sailing ships, fishing vessels, places like Venice, Portugal and the North East Coast. There are also dramatic seascapes depicting World War 1 & 2 navel conflicts, his carefully considered etchings and of course his stunning railway posters.
One of my favourites is this beautifully executed watercolour and gouache painting of Pyramids at Gizza seen in what looks like early evening light. The limited palate has been tastefully chosen to render the fading light. Flicks of red, ultramarine and pink add subtle sparkle to the scene. The crescent moon hanging off centre in the sky, just above the towering palm trees is a small but crisp contrast to the smooth, skilfully rendered washes for the sky.
Make no mistake, Frank Henry Mason was a very fine painter. This exhibition is an absolute must. If that wasn’t enough, another exhibition opens Saturday 21st March at Darlington Railway Museum of Railway Posters and Carriage Prints by Frank Henry Mason. Both exhibitions run until 30th May.