Lots of interest in ‘unknown’ artist whose work almost ended up in bin

HE lived to be almost 90, spent a lot of time in pubs and was one of Yorkshire’s most prolific but also least-known watercolour artists.

George Anderson Short, who died in Halifax in 1945, is thought to have produced thousands of paintings and had a fondness for scenes inside taverns across Leeds and Halifax, as well as painting huntsmen, poachers and gypsies.

Earlier this week, 43 of his works sold at auction in Leeds, raising up to £100 each. Their owner had bought them several years ago for just a few pounds each.

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Auctioneer Gary Don said the seller, a collector from Halifax, had raised £10,000 in total from the sale of the Short works and a collection of antique pipes and old railway watches. Short, who was born in Northumberland but later moved to Halifax, is thought to have received little recognition in his lifetime.

In the 1980s his daughter, then approaching her 100th birthday, revealed a treasure trove of his unsold works that had been stuffed into bin bags at her Halifax home.

Hundreds were bought by Dave Gunning, of Todmorden Fine Art, after they had been professionally valued.

Mr Gunning said: “Her father spent his whole life painting but nothing much ever came of it. I don’t think he had sold many.

“She was worried the ones at the house would all be destroyed. She was very keen to disseminate his work.”