Scarborough artist Michael Major reunited with his largest painting 40 years after he created it

A Scarborough artist has been reunited with his largest-ever painting almost 40 years after he created it.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 11:35 am
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 11:36 am
Scarborough Museums Trust CEO Andrew Clay, left, and Scarborough artist Michael Major.

Michael Major’s landscape of Scarborough’s South Bay was commissioned by what was then the Rowntrees store in the town centre in 1982.

It was displayed in the store’s café for many years until it was taken over by Debenhams when it was re-hung by the staff entrance.

The huge painting, which is acrylics on hardboard and is based on a 19th century etching, is now on public display in the foyer at the Woodend Creative Centre on The Crescent.

Michael Major's acrylic painting of Scarborough's South Bay, now on public display.

Scarborough Museums Trust Chief Executive Andrew Clay explained that when the town’s Debenhams store closed in May, he had a call from a long-standing employee who was anxious that the painting was preserved.

Mr Clay said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have rescued Michael’s painting from the former Debenhams store in Scarborough.

“For many years, Debenhams, and before that Rowntrees, formed a significant part of our high street and will be remembered fondly by residents and visitors to the town.

“The painting is also a reminder of the men and women who worked at Debenhams who would have seen the painting on a daily basis.

The painting is now on public display at Scarborough's Woodend Creative Centre.

“I am delighted that we were asked to preserve it at Woodend where it will be admired by generations to come.”

Michael, a semi-retired picture framer who is still painting regularly, said: “I used to paint nostalgic views, and I had an exhibition in Rowntrees café – they then asked me to paint a large piece for permanent display in there.

"It’s the largest piece I’ve ever done – I painted it when I was just 20 and haven’t seen it since!

“I’m really thrilled to see it back on public view. I didn’t know what had happened to it. When I heard that Debenhams was closing, I wondered where it was – I thought perhaps it had ended up in someone’s lounge!”