Frank Henry Mason

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Frank Henry Mason
Frank Henry Algernon Mason

(1875-10-01)1 October 1875
Seaton Carew, County Durham, England
Died24 February 1965(1965-02-24) (aged 89)
EducationScarborough College of Art
Known forPainting, Drawing, Etching
Movementlight impressionist, art deco, Orientalism
ElectedRBA, RI, RSMA
WebsiteFrank Henry Mason

Frank Henry Mason (1 October 1875 – 24 February 1965), RBA, RI, RSMA was an English artist best known for his maritime, shipping, coastal and harbour paintings, and as a creator of art deco travel and railway posters. His style is described as "light impressionist" and he was a founder member of the Staithes Art Club whose members are known today as the Staithes group of artists, or the Northern Impressionists.[1]

Early life[edit]

Mason was born Frank Henry Algernon Mason in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, County Durham, England on 1 October 1875,[2] the son of a railway clerk.[3] He was educated between 1880 and 1882 as a cadet at the naval school ship HMS Conway at Birkenhead.[3][4]

On leaving HMS Conway, Mason spent time at sea then trained with Parsons as a marine engineer for steam powered ships[2][4][5][6] working at Hartlepool, Leeds and Scarborough, eventually settling in Scarborough around about 1894.


The Suez Canal. 28 April 1916 - from the crow's nest of Deversoir Signal Station

Mason had been interested in drawing but had no formal training in art. There was however a strong artistic community in Scarborough at the time. He studied at the Scarborough School of Art with Albert Strange[7] and made regular trips to Staithes to meet and socialise with the arts community there. By 1890 his work had advanced to the point where he received commissions from art dealers, and around 1898 he decided to quit marine engineering and take up art full-time.[1] In 1901 he became a founding member of the Staithes Art Club.[1] He married his wife Edith in 1899.[1]

He had lived at Blenheim Terrace in Scarborough but relocated the short distance to lodgings in North Marine Road.[6] During the First World War, Mason was appointed shipping war artist[8] in the RNVR as lieutenant in command of a Motor Launch in the North Sea, and Egypt.[9] The Imperial War Museum holds 56 of his paintings from this period.[10][11] On returning from the war, Mason worked with the community at Ebberston Hall near Scarborough[10] and he travelled abroad extensively undertaking an extended European tour. He painted many subjects generally in water colour. During the 1920s and 1930s he designed poster artwork for Great Northern Railway, Great Western Railway, London, Midland and Scottish Railway, North Eastern Railway, London and North Eastern Railway, British Rail and Underground Group railway companies and ocean liner companies.[3][4][12][13][14]

Mason was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists in 1904 and elected to the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1929.[3][8][12] He was an early member of the Society of Graphic Art and exhibited with them in 1921.[citation needed]


Dockyard Creek, Malta - Submarine M1, Monitor 'Abercrombie' and Fleet Messengers

Mason had exhibitions of his work at the Royal Academy from 1902 onwards.[15] His work was part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1932 Summer Olympics.[16] His work has been included in an exhibition in Liverpool[8] and in 1973 there was an exhibition of his work at the National Maritime Museum.[17] As well as the Imperial War Museum, Mason's work can be found in numerous galleries around the country – at Cartwright Hall Bradford, in Dundee, Hartlepool Art Gallery, and at Whitby.[2]

Mason wrote the book Ashore and Afloat (1929) about his water colour technique.[7] With Fred Taylor, he wrote the book Water Colour Painting.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Frank Henry Mason (1875–1965) Biography". James Alder Victorian Fine Art. Archived from the original on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Jordan, Rosamund (2005). "Frank Henry Mason RBA RI RSMA 1875–1965". T.B. & R. Jordan. Archived from the original on 14 March 2004. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Frank Henry Mason (RI, RBA 1875–1965)". Travelling Art Gallery. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
  4. ^ a b c "Contemporary Botanical Floral Poster Fine Art Prints". Enjoy Art. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  5. ^ "Going to the highest bidder". Hartlepool Mail. Hartlepool. 30 August 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Mason picture up for auction". Scarborough Evening News. Scarborough. 20 October 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  7. ^ a b Watts, Tony (10 March 2007). "Albert's Pupils". The Albert Strange Association. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
  8. ^ a b c "Brunswick Gallery". Kingsley Galleries. Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  9. ^ "First World War Art – Paintings". David Cohen Fine Art. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Frank Henry Mason (1876–1965)". Vallejo Maritime Gallery. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  11. ^ "Lieutenant Frank H Mason". Imperial War Museums. 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Whittington Fine Art". Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  13. ^ "Artist: Frank Mason – Poster and poster artwork collection". London Transport Museum. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  14. ^ "Science and Society Picture Library". Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  15. ^ "Mason, Frank Henry, RI, RBA (1876–1965)". Anthony Woodd Gallery. Retrieved 29 July 2010.[dead link]
  16. ^ "Frank Henry Mason". Olympedia. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  17. ^ "Salesroom Focus" (PDF),, archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011, retrieved 10 October 2008

Further reading[edit]

  • Yardley, Edward; The Life and Career of Frank Henry Mason, Hartlepool Museum Services, (1996)
  • Yardley, Edward; Frank Henry Mason. Marine Painter and Poster Artist, Colley Books, (2015)

External links[edit]