Mark Senior (British, 1864-1927) A view up Park Row towards St Anne's Cathedral, Leeds

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Lot 82
Mark Senior
(British, 1864-1927)
A view up Park Row towards St Anne's Cathedral, Leeds

£ 10,000 - 15,000
US$ 13,000 - 19,000
Mark Senior (British, 1864-1927)
A view up Park Row towards St Anne's Cathedral, Leeds
signed 'M Senior.' (lower right)
oil on canvas
102.2 x 94.6cm (40 1/4 x 37 1/4in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Anon. sale, Christie's, London, 17 June 2014, lot 111.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    In 1916 Mark Senior moved his studio a short distance from Cookridge Street, which he had occupied for eight years, to Sun Buildings, 15 Park Row, in the centre of Leeds, one of the finest city streets. Its north end was punctuated by St Anne's Roman Catholic Cathedral, the modern Arts and Crafts building with its squat, square tower seen through the morning haze in the artist's bright sunlit view of the thoroughfare. Having been recorded a generation earlier by the city's most famous Victorian painter, John Atkinson Grimshaw, it connects the old City Square with Park Lane, at the perimeter of the commercial district, now known as The Headrow (fig 1).

    Comparison of the two pictures reveals important changes in the thirty-plus years that separate them. In 1900 the city compulsorily purchased the old church which acted as Grimshaw's focal point at the north end of the street, to facilitate a road widening scheme. The new edifice was to be moved, replaced, and reopened in1904. In a few further years, motor cars arrived on the streets, and trams, formerly horse-drawn, were electrified. However, the differences between the two go beyond topographic updating. While the earlier artist records the scene on a wet moonlit evening, picking out tracery on the High Renaissance façade of the Eagle Star Building on the right – Senior, the Impressionist, eschews detail in favour of the sparkling 'over all' effects of sunlight. Grimshaw's street is almost deserted, while Senior shows us a crowd of visitors arriving at the old town museum, housed in the Literary and Philosophical Society Hall on the left – easily recognized by its portico – a building that survived until 1966.

    Senior's moment was however, around fifty years earlier, when the leading Staithes School painter, was experimenting with cityscapes. In another smaller canvas, painted around the same time, he chose a vantage point in nearby Commercial Street (Leeds Museums and Galleries). Here again, the strong sun and clear sky sends throws shadows across the street, while illuminating busy shoppers. Only a cosmopolitan painter who was au fait with the visual language of second-generation Impressionists, could leave a flash of cadmium red enlivening the small crowd that gathers around the entrance to the museum, while on the far side of the street a sleek green sports saloon, leaves a plume of exhaust in the cool morning air. In this way, a busy northern thoroughfare comes vividly to life.

    We are grateful to Professor Kenneth McConkey for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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