5 Of The Most Famous Yorkshire Artists

Salts Mill

With its rolling hills, vibrant metropolitan cities and the countless array of breathtaking views, it’s easy to understand why Yorkshire has inspired many respected Artists, who’ve reached the tops of their respective fields.

When it comes to artists from Yorkshire, we could go on for hours.. however, in this blog post we’re taking a look at some of the most famous and widely recognised, as well as galleries where you can peruse their work. All in the effort of helping you understand the great legacy that Yorkshire has had on the cultural stage.

Yorkshire’s Inspirational Landscapes

Anyone who’s visited Yorkshire will understand how it would be easy to be inspired. Whether it’s the breath taking views found at the peak of Malham Cove in the Dales, or the quaint cobbled streets of the carefully preserved Victorian village of Saltaire many artists, both born in the region and from further afield have found inspiration in the landscapes of Yorkshire.

Different Mediums of Art

Of course, art is a subjective field and comes in many forms. Including painting, animation, drawing, sculpture and even music, it’s an endlessly broad term which includes varying definitions. However, in this article, we’re focusing on what can be considered the most traditional definition – and leaving musicians and animators for another article.

I’ll share a short description of the artists lives, their connection to Yorkshire and whether, if anywhere you can see their work on display, right here in Yorkshire and perhaps even a helpful link or two, showing where you can purchase copies of their work.

Famous Yorkshire Artists

David Hockney


Perhaps the most well known artist on this list, painter, stage designer and photographer David Hockney has become almost synonymous with the cultural heritage of Yorkshire.

Playing a leading roll during the Pop art movement of the 1960s, Hockney was born in Bradford in 9th July 1937 and is widely considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

His work has been compared to that of Van Gogh, and for those wondering where it can be viewed, you need to look no further than the village of Saltaire, and its most famous attraction Salts Mill.

Barbara Hepworth

Yet another well known artist to be born and inspired by Yorkshire is Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth, an influential sculpture who gained fame for her Modernist sculpture.

Although in the modern day it’s common to find a vibrant female presence in the art world, Hepworth defied her era and was one of very few women to be internationally renowned for her work.

She was born in Wakefield in 1903 and died at the age of 72 in St Ives, Cornwall. However, her legacy lives on and in her birth town of Wakefield you’ll find the aptly named “Hepworth” Museum, a striking, purpose built art gallery, which not only displays some of her most prominent work, but also exhibits contemporary art from artists of varying standings – I’m sure that Barbara would be ecstatic with the idea that her name was helping to continue the development of art in her home region.

Henry Moore

Born in Castleford in 1898, Henry Spencer Moore was a poignant sculpture who gained fame through his semi-abstract work, which often depicted hard hitting subjects like the Blitz of London during the Second World War.

Although his work is relatively abstract, it was undoubedtly inspired by his birthplace of Yorkshire – and contains themes inspired by both the landscapes along with the cultural heritage of the region.

Being from humble beginnings as the son of a coal miner, he became extremely wealthy throughout his lifetime from his ferocious talent. Although he was very wealthy, he lived frugally and put most of his earnings to the Henry Moore Foundation, which is still very active and aims to enhance education and promotion of the arts.

His work, along with other sculptures can be found at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, just outside of Wakefield and is a wonderful place to visit for anyone with an interest in the arts.

Joash Woodrow

Hailing from the Chapel Allerton area of Leeds, Joash Woodrow was born in 1927 and died in 2006.

Studying art at Leeds College of Art before the Royal College of Art, he was the son of Polish-Jewish parents and rose to fame as a reclusive artist, who was unknown throughout the majority of his life.

However, when he fell ill in the early 2000s, his home was being emptied and thousands of his drawings, paintings are artwork were found. It was then that his striking, fairly abstract work was thrown into the spotlight and he became a well respected artist.

Since this story was covered by some of the worlds leading publications, there has even been a play written, based on his life.

Damien Hirst

Although he wasn’t born in Yorkshire, he grew up in Leeds and as one of the most prominent artists of recent years, deserves a spot on this round up.

Throughout the 1990s, Hirst grow in popularity for his often unusual series of artworks where death is the central theme. Hirst is the richest living artists in the UK and has amounted a fortune of over £215 million.

Perhaps his most famous work is the striking “For the love of God” – a skull encrusted with millions of pounds worth of diamonds. He also gained infamy through his work in which he placed a dead Tiger Shark in formaldehyde and put it on displayed.

If you’re interested in viewing a Hirst original, throughout 2019, two of his cultures can be found in Leeds City Centre and another piece can be found at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

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