William Riley
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Pybus Fine Arts

The project to oversee the restoration of the former lifeboat has seen the involvement of many people throughout the town, one of whom being the proprietor of "Pybus Fine Arts" a local gallery. Over the course of the winter, Tim Hicking discussed the project with Christine in detail and it was during these conversations that she suggested a painting of the lifeboat offering to feature it in the studio down in the town. The offer was discussed by the trust and brought to the attention of those at a general meeting of enthusiasts.

Platform View

The consensus was that the offer was a very welcome gesture, with no objections at the meeting it was agreed that the painting would be commissioned to show the lifeboat as she was at the time the painting was completed. A special high level platform was constructed so that Christine had a high viewpoint of the lifeboat, this allowed her to paint in a safe environment away from the actual work being done. The first step for Christine was make a pencil drawing of the lifeboat which would allow her to get some idea of the scale.

Basic Sketch

Although very primitive the small line drawing was without doubt the beginning of what was to be a very productive process. Following on from the sketch, Christine was able to do a basic painting onto a card base. The painting process inevitably began with 'a blank canvas' not too dissimilar to what the trust has embarked on with the restoration of the lifeboat.

Coloured Card

The trust could have waited until the lifeboat restoration was completed before commissioning a painting, but it was felt that having the lifeboat painted then would help show the character and history of the lifeboat.

Christine made a number of visit to the lifeboat as the painting progressed being able to portray the small but important changes made as the restoration work progressed. Although Christine had a unique platform she was working during what was essentially a cold part of the year. With the major design work completed Christine was happy enough to be able to the painting was in the safe and warm confines of a studio finally adding an aesthetically pleasing frame.

From the outset, Christine was insistent on donating the painting to the charity, a decision that the trust members found very generous. The finished painting was accepted by members of the trust at a special meeting at the worksite during which selected individuals were made honorary members of the "Whitby Historic Lifeboat Trust" in honour of their support for the project. Individuals chosen included John Morley and Geoffrey Robinson both of whom could not make the event.

Tim Hicking With The Finished Print

The trust had discussed the painting with its members as to what to do with the painting. Christine is an acclaimed painter and paintings are known to fetch commanding prices. Tim had followed the progress of the painting from the start with a keen interest and as a devout lifeboat enthusiast he offered to buy the finished painting from the trust.

The Presentation Card

A figure was agreed amongst the trust and people present at a general meeting and the painting was purchased by Tim. Since then the money raised from the sale of the painting has been used to have greeting cards printed. The front of the card features the painting and the inside has been left blank, this way the card can be used for a multitude of reasons. The rear of the card has a small paragraph explaining a little about the William Riley. The A5 cards are a unique keepsake in their own right, they were at just £1.60 the money raised from the sale of the cards is put back into the restoration project.

Copyright © Colin Brittain 1999 - 2022