The Kindness of Strangers (and Friends)

1 February – 22 March 2020

The Pannett Art Gallery exists today because of the generosity of Alderman Robert Elliott Pannett (1834 – 1920) who on his death 100 years ago, left in his will Pannett Park, the money to build a gallery and many artworks, to Whitby, the town he loved.

Over the years many more paintings, drawings and other artworks have been given to the gallery and some of these are now on display. All the artworks in the current exhibition have either been given, been left to the gallery in a will, or purchased with money donated or bequeathed to the gallery.

Some of these are recent acquisitions, such as the large collection of watercolours recently bequeathed to the gallery by the late Joyce Turner who is remembered by many local people as Miss Turner, their French Teacher. Miss Turner’s love of the town is reflected in her choice of paintings, which feature some fabulous Whitby scenes.

The beautiful military portrait is possibly of Henry (Harry) Lawson who was in the Grenadier Guards and was killed at Guichy, France, in the first world war. This picture was painted by his father John Lawson and gifted to the gallery by Alice Payne, Harry’s niece.

Other paintings have been purchased with money given to the Art Gallery. For example, “Belinda Sulking” by Sir William Russell Flint RA, a beautiful 20th Century watercolour, was purchased with a financial bequest, as was the Railway Poster, designed by Frank Henry Mason, which complements the Oil Painting “Days of Oak and Hemp” which can be seen in the Staithes Art Group Room.

Over the years some of these paintings haven’t had much attention and there is plenty of work yet to be done, researching the artists and the subjects as well as some cleaning and restoration. If you have any information about any of the paintings on display, the art gallery would love to hear about it.

The Pannett Art Gallery depends on the generosity and kindness of patrons, enthusiasts and supporters, not only for the gift of artworks to develop the collection, but also for financial donations to assist with restoration, framing, cleaning and ongoing care of the collection.

We have strict acquisition rules that determine the sort of work we can include in the Pannett collections. However, we are always keen to investigate ways of extending and improving our collection so that we can show the very best art works in our gallery. The Pannett Art Gallery cares for the collection, to ensure future generations can continue to enjoy these art works and any paintings and drawings donated to the gallery belong to the town.

Anyone wanting to donate or bequeath a painting, drawing or print to the Pannett Art Gallery, should contact the curator Helen Berry:




Henry Lawson by John Lawson
Frank Henry Mason Poster