Howdenshire History

Goole's Marine Artist: Reuben Chappell

Goole History > Goole People & Families > Reuben Chappell


From the Goole Times, 1st October 1971:



The son of Goole's marine artist Reuben Chappell visited the town this week and brought with him his memories of his boyhood and life.

Doris in Calm, a painting by Reuben Chappell of Goole
Doris In Calm, by Reuben Chappell

Mr Cecil Chappell, the son of an artist who, when he died in 1940, left behind an unrivalled record of the last 50 years of sail, is proud of his father and of his achievements.

"It is estimated that Reuben painted 12 000 pictures in his lifetime," he told the Goole Times, "and that's not counting his landscapes and other works, which he did as a kind of relaxation.

Mr Chappell and his wife Kathleen arrived in Goole on Tuesday with the intention of visiting as many places as possible during their brief stay. It is his first visit to Goole since 1904, when he left with his parents for the West Country. "I was only five years old then," he said, "and I cannot remember anything about the area."

Reuben was then 34. A former pupil of the then privately owned Goole Grammar School, he rose to local fame through his work in the photographic field. Tinting prints led to painting, in which he was almost self-taught.

At the age of 20 he had a studio at 7 Jackson Street. From then his reputation grew so fast that he found little time for photography. Art was his only work, and by the age of 25 he was earning enough money to marry.

"People wanted to buy pictures of sailing ships and later of steam, and my father would be commissioned to paint them for about five shillings each. Prices were low in those days. Some of his work is now fetching upwards of £150.

"For many years he always signed his paintings 'R. Chappell, Goole', so people would know it was the same artist they had come across in Yorkshire. The family was reasonably well off - but he worked hard."

Reuben Chappell, who died at the age of 70, is now a well-known name. His oil and water-colour paintings and sketches are found in numerous galleries and museums throughout the world. His pictures of such well-known ships as the S.S. Wharfe, the Terrier and the Thomas W. Lawson are in collections both large and small, private and public. There are at least 59 in Denmark, two in the United States and four in Norway. Thousands, it is estimated, hang in British homes and galleries.

Many people, including Mr Cyril B. Chappell - Reuben's nephew, with whom the couple are staying during their visit to Goole - agree with him.

  Home   |   Family Research   |   Old Photos   |   Local History Books   |   My Local History Blog   |   Contact  
  Goole History   |   Howden History   |   Eastrington History   |   Snaith & Area   |   Local Villages   |   Yorkshire Emigrants  
Copyright © Amy Butler & Susan Butler 2014. All Rights Reserved.