Reuben Chappell Art Trail to celebrate Goole’s maritime heritage
Goole Civic Society is to create an outdoor art trail celebrating the town’s renowned “Pierhead Painter” Reuben Chappell.
Chappell was born in Goole in 1870 and made a living by painting pictures of sailing and steam ships that visited the docks, taking commissions from ships’ captains and crew. He later moved to Cornwall and became one of the best and most prolific ship’s portrait artists, painting more than 12,000 pictures of vessels from all over northern Europe during his lifetime.
Framed weather-proof reproductions of Chappell’s works will be mounted on buildings around Goole to form the art trail, paying tribute to both the artist and the town’s fascinating maritime heritage. Trail guide booklets will be available free from the town’s library and museums.
Goole Civic Society has secured funding for the project from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council High Street Fund, established to revitalise town centres, and donations from local businesses.
Use of the paintings for reproduction is being provided by Goole Museum, which houses a large Reuben Chappell collection, and by Goole-based shipbroker Peter Aarosin, who has a family connection with the artist.
In 1910, Peter Aarosin’s grandfather, Captain Hans Jørgen Aarosin, then a 17-year-old ship’s hand aboard the Danish vessel Ansgar, commissioned a watercolour of the ship while it was docked in London.
He later gave the painting to Peter, who brought it to Chappell’s home town when he moved to Goole from Denmark in the 1970s.
Peter Aarosin said: “It’s a really good project for the local community, honouring a Goole man who was very famous in maritime circles. It will encourage a lot of people to look back on Goole’s proud history.”
The chair of Goole Civic Society, Margaret Hicks-Clarke, said: “We are delighted to have raised the funding and support to create the Reuben Chappell Art Trail, which will take shape over the summer.
“In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Reuben Chappell was painting in Goole, the town was a bustling port, with ships arriving from all over the world. We want to recreate some of that history.
“We hope the project will generate pride in Goole’s unique heritage as a company-built port town.”