JOHN ATKINSON GRIMSHAW 1836 - 1893 Ariadne at Naxos Signed & dated 1877 Oil on relined canvas Frame size: 38 x 53½ inches / 96.5 x 135.75cm Label verso: Leeds City Art Gallery, Alex Jackson- Yorkshire Collection, Atkinson Grimshaw Exhibition and Tour, 13 October – 10 November 1979, (66) Ariadne at NaxosA catalogue of the Touring Exhibition is also available with the painting. Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete, fell in love with Theseus, son of the King of Athens, who was sent to Crete to kill the legendary minotaur, to whom Athenian youths were regularly sacrificed. She effected his escape from the Labyrinth by passing him a ball of string so that he could retrace his steps. They sailed away together to Naxos, but Theseus soon tired of Ariadne, and abandoned her. The gods punished Theseus by causing him to forget to change the black sails of his ship to white. On seeing the black ship return his father flung himself from the cliffs fearing his son dead. Ariadne remained on the island, mourning the loss of her lover until consoled by Bacchus, who flung her crown into the heavens to form a constellation of stars, and married her.John Atkinson Grimshaw was a Victorian artist who became famous for his atmospheric views of dockyards and nocturnal scenes of urban lanes with leafless trees silhouetted against moonlit skies. He was born in Leeds, son of an ex-policeman. Grimshaw was employed as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway, and it was at this time he first began to paint. In 1858 he married his cousin Frances Theodosia Hubbarde and by 1861 left his job in order to devote all his time to painting. His early work was influenced by Ruskin and the Leeds painter John William Inchbold, who worked in a detailed Pre-Raphaelite style. About 1865 he adopted a more muted palette and atmospheric style; he painted many urban scenes in which moonlight and shadows were the most striking features. By 1870 Grimshaw had become successful enough to rent Knostrop Old Hall, a 17th Century mansion about two miles from the centre of Leeds, and near Temple Newsom which features in many of his pictures.Grimshaw painted mostly for private patrons and only exhibited five works at the Royal Academy from 1874 - 6 and one at Grosvenor Gallery. The towns and docks he most frequently painted were Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, Scarborough, Whitby, and London. He also painted landscapes, portraits, interiors, fairy pictures and neo-classical subjects.Grimshaw usually signed his pictures on the front and the reverse, inscribed with the title. In the 1870’s he built another home near Scarborough which he called, ‘The Castle by the Sea’, but after suffering a serious financial disaster in 1879 it had to be sold. He moved to London and rented a studio in Chelsea, leaving his family at Knostrop, but did return, and died there in 1893. Two of his sons, Arthur and Louis also became painters.