Important collection of art by Victor Noble Rainbird recovered from a loft

Our story about an important collection of paintings by Victor Noble Rainbird (1887-1936) is covered in our regional daily paper today (The Journal – 25 April 2018).

The paintings were re-discovered recently in the loft of a house in Chester-le-Street. This art collection has been passed down through the family of North Shields entrepreneur William Chater Newton (1888-1957) and the family tradition is that the paintings were given to Newton by Rainbird in payment for lodgings in North Shields.

Newton left Tyneside in 1910 and made the Atlantic crossing on the SS Lake Erie, presumably intending to make a new life across the Atlantic.  From 1910 to 1915 he had various jobs including that of a stableman, a car salesman, a chauffeur and a taxi driver.

In World War One he enlisted with the Canadian Army Services Corps and saw service in France, where he was shot and gassed. After the war he was briefly back on Tyneside and in 1922 he is recorded as the manager of the Rapid Transport Co Ltd based in Mariners Lane, North Shields.

He married Nora Thornton in Tynemouth on 25 August 1923.  Just a few days later the newly weds sailed for Canada, where Newton then worked as a chauffeur for a wealthy family in Detroit.

In August 1930 the couple returned to the UK and seem to have settled back in North Shields. In September 1930 William Chater set up ‘Newton’s Boneless Fish’ business from a modest stall at Union Road on the North Shields Quayside. He and Nora went on to own a chain of fried fish restaurants on Tyneside.

The collection includes a most unusual portrait of William and Nora’s daughter Ann (b September 1931) painted by Rainbird in 1933.

The collection of paintings (some of which are for sale through Tynemouth Fine Art) includes a number of paintings of North Shields in the 1930s, along with paintings of York, Canterbury, Barnard Castle, Rouen, Lisieux and Bruges.

If you live in the Tyneside area then you can see some of the collection at our stand at the Local History Day to be held at North Shields Library on Saturday 12th May 2018.

Portrait of “Anne” 1933 – Victor Noble Rainbird

Watercolour, 30 cm x 20 cm

Shepherd’s Quay, North Shields by Victor Noble Rainbird

Watercolour, 36 cm x 23 cm

The High Light, North Shields

The High Light, North Shields by Victor Noble Rainbird

Watercolour, 25 cm x 16.5 cm

Photograph of William Chater Newton (1888-1957)

Date unknown. 31 cm x 25 cm

A sepia photograph of William Chator Newton

A letterhead of Newton's Restaurants Ltd