Painting of Scarborough Spa burning down in 19th century to go on sale at auction

A painting depicting a dramatic moment in Scarborough's history will go on sale at auction this month.

By Corinne Macdonald
Friday, 14th June 2019, 10:00 am
The burning of the Scarborough Spa by 18th century Flemish artist Alphonse Neumans. PIC: Elstob & Elstob.
The burning of the Scarborough Spa by 18th century Flemish artist Alphonse Neumans. PIC: Elstob & Elstob.

‘The Burning of the Spa, Scarborough’ by the Belgian artist Alphonse Neumans (1853 to 1893) depicts the razing to the ground of the Scarborough Spa when it was consumed by fire on September 8 1876.

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It is part of an extensive collection of fine objects owned by the late Denis Chapman, a well-known auctioneer and estate agent in Scarborough, and carries a price estimate of £500 to £700

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David Elstob, Director at Elstob & Elstob, is pictured with the painting. PIC: Elstob & Elstob

The framed oil painting on canvass is expected to be of interest to historians and locals alike when it is presented at Elstob & Elstob's Bedale Hall sale later this month.

Scarborough Spa was officially opened in 1858 after the discovery of the health-giving waters on the coast, and drew vast numbers of visitors to the town.

Earlier buildings had marked the spot where visitors could 'take the waters' before Sir Joseph Paxton (who had previously worked on the grounds of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire and the famous Crystal Palace) was commissioned to re-design the complex.

However, just 18 years later it was dramatically destroyed by fire, although it was quickly rebuilt to the current form that stands today.

The iconic building was pivotal to the prominence of the town as a key tourist destination and its successor still has immense importance today.

David Elstob, Director of Elstob & Elstob said: "This really is the most amazing piece of 19th- century journalism.

"There is a note on the back of the painting that indicates that it was actually painted at the scene and so constitutes an important eye-witness account of the event that must have shaken the Victorian town to its core.”

The Burning of the Spa is one of several paintings of the Yorkshire seaside town that come from Mr Chapman’s estate, including a view of Scarborough by Paul Marny (1829-1914) andseveral 19th century northern marine artists.

Other notable pieces make up the Chapman collection including:

- A George II silver coffeepot by the London silversmith Peter Archambo, valued between £500 and £700.

- A George III mahogany longcase clock expected to reach £800 - £1,200.

- An early 18th century mahogany breakfront bookcase with a price estimate of £1,500 to £2,500.

The sale takes place at the auction house’s premises at Bedale Hall on Sunday June 23 at 10am, with viewing on Friday 21 June from 10am until 7pm and Saturday 22 June from 9amuntil 5pm.

For further information please call 01677 333003, email [email protected] or visit