An art exhibition in East Yorkshire is helping to raise funds for the campaign to bring the trawler Viola back home to Hull, reports Paul Scott.

The exhibition, ‘Adventure on the High Seas’, held in the Stables Gallery at Burton Constable Hall, features ships from Hull that sailed in the Falklands War taskforce.

The exhibition, by Welwick- based artist Larry Malkin, also showcases paintings of the 1906-built Viola in her current location on the beach at Grytviken, South Georgia, as well as his interpretation of her launch at Beverley shipyard in 1906, and her journey under tow along the river Hull to work as part of the Hellyer Steam Fishing Company’s North Sea boxer fleet.

Larry Malkin will donate 50% of the proceeds from the sale of the works to the Viola Trust.

The artist worked with the trust in 2019 on a calendar that came out the following year. He also collaborated on this year’s Hull Task Force calendar, produced in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Falklands War. Paintings from both calendars feature in the exhibition.

He told Fishing News: “I heard of the Viola and her location on the local news, and offered the Viola Trust my services as an artist in residence because this little trawler had such an intriguing and almost unbelievable history.

“It is a story written in fantasy, and one well worth illustrating. Like many of the boxer fleet, she was built 20 miles inland, and launched sideways into the very narrow river Hull. This was a marvellous occurrence, and one which was far from unique, as a great many trawlers were built and launched from Beverley shipyards in this way.

“Viola was then floated downriver on the tide and fitted out in Hull fish docks. This story totally captured my imagination, conjuring up all manner of images which I felt I had to express and record.

“The boxer fleet sailed in all weathers and conditions, and coming from inland I could only imagine the extremes that the crew and the boat experienced on the Dogger Bank. That hard life has been written about and recorded in many songs, but few pictures. I felt moved to produce some.”

The exhibition also includes paintings of other Hull ships in action during the Falklands conflict, including the trawlers Northella, Cordella and Junella.

Norman Court, project manager at the Viola Trust, said: “We are very grateful to Larry once again for his support and his generosity.

“The global challenges of the last two years have presented us with particular difficulties in terms of costs and logistics, but our campaign continues, and a key part of that is raising awareness of the Viola and her significance in Hull’s maritime heritage.”

Paintings of other ships with a strong connection to Hull also feature in the exhibition, including the Norland and the Arctic Corsair.

Describing the Viola as a ‘supreme example of British engineering and shipbuilding’, Larry Malkin told FN that the boat ‘deserves to be returned to her home port to be admired and appreciated for what she is’.

“She is the oldest of the early steamers, and should be preserved to inspire generations to come. If I can help in any way to achieve that as an artist, then I will.”

The ‘Adventure on the High Seas’ exhibition at Burton Constable Hall, Skirlaugh, East Yorkshire, runs until Sunday, 25 September.

For more information about the exhibition, click here.

Image above: Artist Larry Malkin outside Burton Constable Hall with his painting of the Viola on the beach at Grytviken.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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