Video: Unique vision of Yorkshire goes on show

AWAY from his duties as a schoolmaster Bert Rendall was a prodigious collector of art, particularly that produced by Yorkshire artists.

Julian Rendall, son of Claire and Bert Rendall whose collection of "Yorkshire Paintings" will be shown for the first and only time at Pannett Art Gallery in Whitby. Pictire: Tony Bartholomew.

During his lifetime,with his wife Claire, he amassed an impressive collection of oil paintings, watercolours and drawings by a wide selection the region’s artists, many of which remained in closed storage after being bought and were only displayed for special occasions.

However now more than 80 paintings from the collection are going on show at The Pannett Art Gallery, in Whitby, the town they loved as much as Yorkshire art.

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The exhibition includes works by Owen Bowen, Fred Lawson, Mary Weatherill, James Ulric Walmsley and Philip Naviasky. This is the only time the unparalleled collection has gone on public display.

Julian Rendall, son of Claire and Bert Rendall whose collection of "Yorkshire Paintings" will be shown for the first and only time at Pannett Art Gallery in Whitby. Pictire: Tony Bartholomew.

Julian Rendall, his son, said: “It is poignant for us to think that this will be the only occasion that his life’s collection will be seen in its entirety, as many pictures, particularly the watercolours, remained in closed storage from the date of purchase and were only brought out on special occasions.

“We know our father would have been humbled and somewhat surprised to think of the collection being on display, and at his favourite art gallery as well.”

People will be able to see, enjoy and purchase the paintings from the collection A Passion For Paintings –The Yorkshire Collection of Claire & Bert Rendall at the gallery from Saturday until Sunday March 24.

The chance to see all the works together is the first and only time ever his collection will be publicly displayed in its entirety – as many of the paintings are for sale.

Mr Rendall, of Goole, began collecting during the latter half of his life.

After being demobbed from the Royal Artillery in 1947, he trained as a schoolmaster in Wolverhampton and it was during this time that his interest in art and paintings blossomed but it was only during the 1970s when he began collecting seriously.

Deciding at an early stage to focus on Yorkshire Artists the coastal scene Ships painted by Leeds artist Owen Bowen was the first picture which Mr Rendall and his wife bought together.

During the later years of painter Philip Naviasky’s life, Mr Rendall got to know the artist visiting and buying his paintings on a number of occasions. The Rendall family donated a Naviasky portrait, Connemara Girl, to the Pannett Art Gallery’s permanent collection with the knowledge that many more people will enjoy this painting which formally took pride of place in the family home.

Naviasky was born in Leeds and gained a considerable reputation as a portrait artist.

Mr Rendall loved visiting The Pannett and his family were keen for the exhibition to take place at the art gallery.

A museum spokeswoman said: “Bert loved his visits to Whitby, to drop in and meet his friend and painter, John Freeman, at the artist’s studio in Old Town Whitby. An admirer of John’s work from his early years as a painter, Bert and Claire collected a number of his pictures over the years. Following those meetings came the pilgrimage to the Pannett Art Gallery, which all the family remember with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Bert spent hours looking around the latest show, particularly the annual Fylingdales Group Exhibition, and of course the permanent collection in which he always had his favourites to stand before for several minutes at a time.”

Museum creator Helen Berry said that the museum was thrilled to show Mr Rendall’s art collection: “Its amazing,” she added.

“We are really, really honoured to have this exhibition. We feel very privileged.

“There are fantastic Naviasky portraits, including the one that he has given us, and there are one or two other portraits but there are also a lot of rural scenes and a few interiors,” she added.

Many of the exhibited works are for sale. Mrs Berry said some had price tags of more than £1,000, while the cheapest was £70.

Mrs Berry said she understood that Mr Rendall was a primary school teacher and said he enjoyed drawing himself. Some of his drawings feature in the exhibition.

She said the museum was thrilled with the gift of the Naviasky portrait saying: “His portraits are just so sensitive. They are just really charming images and quite strong, very striking but sensitive at the same time.”

The Pannett Art Gallery Whitby, is open from Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am–4.30pm. Admission is free.