A PAINTER who inspired a new era of art has been honoured at Beck Isle Museum in Pickering.

Francis Nicholson, who was born in the town in 1753, was a major contributor to national exhibitions after developing the use of watercolours.

A new colour display celebrating his work has now been created at the museum, designed by Dick Raines of York and sponsored by the Pickering & District Civic Society.

Judy Dixon, from the Society, said: "This is an interesting insight into the life of a local person, a linen weaver`s son who on seeing a painting in a client`s house, was inspired to become a painter whilst on an errand for his father.

"At that time there was no route for a country boy to become a painter. Through his own determination, he became well known in his time.

Judy saidNicholson's watercolour landscapes depict many abbeys, houses, castles and land and seascapes around Yorkshire where he lived

for his first fifty years, has largely been forgotten both locally and nationally.

"On moving to London, he became a major contributor to exhibitions there and founded with others what was later to become the Royal Watercolour Society," she added.

"He was commissioned by notable people to paint their houses and estates and his work is in major galleries, although not always on display. Judy said that some years later, with his daughters, he began to experiment with the new technique of lithography and was able to have made multicopies of his work.

"The display board in Beck Isle, the books and websites plus the Blue Plaque in Hungate his birthplace are all part of the efforts over three years to ensure lasting recognition of a talented son of Pickering by the Nicholson group," she added..

Colin Coulson, who wrote the book "Francis Nicholson of Pickering- Father of English Water Colour", said: "Nicholson quite simply broke the mould, and ushered water colour painting into a whole new era. Water colours weren't even considered 'proper paintings' before Nicholson developed his system.

A third local exhibition of some of his Yorkshire work " Francis Nicholson and the Lure of the Picturesque" will be on display until

June 15 in the Inspired by..... gallery at Danby National Park Moors centre

For more information visit www.francisnicholsonowcs.co.uk or pickeringcivicsociety.btck.co.uk websites