Just outside Beverley’s North Bar stands a riotously decorated black-and-white revival house 4-6 North Bar Without, loaded with dormers and turrets, statues, mottoes and coats of arms, and two endearing carved caricatures of Gladstone and Disraeli, dating c1890.
This is the work of the Beverley carver James Edward Elwell, whose fine carvings can be found in churches, public buildings and houses across the East Riding.
In Beverley he executed, among much else, Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Gothic organ screen in the Minster (1878-80) and John Oldrid Scott’s reredos at St Mary’s Parish Church (1880-1).
He also provided carvings at his own house at 43 North Bar Without (Oak House) (Smith & Brodrick 1880) and the house next door, 45 North Bar Without, which he designed himself (1894).
He died in 1926 aged ninety: his work, much of it for the architects Temple Moore and F S Brodrick, dates from the 1880s to around 1910.
His son was Frederick William Elwell (1870-1958), a painter with a national reputation who chose to live most of his life in Beverley with his artist wife Mary Dawson, née Bishop, (1874-1952).
His portrait-subjects included King George V, whose lying-in-state he also painted, and the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, and he painted numerous civic leaders in Hull and the East Riding. He is now most celebrated for his genre-paintings of local life, including several of the kitchen-staff at the Beverley Arms Hotel, such as ‘Preparations’ and ‘Three Maids’ (both c1940-45), which are displayed on weather-proof panels around the streets of Beverley.
By this means Beverley is embellished by the talents of both father and son.
For details of Mike Higginbottom’s lecture Survivals & Revivals: past views of English architecture, please click here.
The 80-page, A4 handbook for the 2016 ‘Humber Heritage’ tour, with text, photographs, maps and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £10.00 including postage and packing. To order a copy, please click here or, if you prefer, send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.