Robert Jobling (1841 - 1923)
Robert Jobling first had work accepted by both the Royal Academy and Royal Society of Artists in 1883. He painted regularly at Cullercoats befiore switching his allegiance to Staithes. He found the artistic atmosphere at Staithes very stimulating, and as one of the older members of the Staithes Group held a position of some standing. The majority of Jobling’s artistic exposure was in the local Northern Exhibitions. The Wreck of the Iron Crown at Cullercoats, 21st. October 1881 This important and historical watercolour depicts the wreck of the Iron Crown at Tynemouth on the 21st of October 1881. The volunteer Life Brigade rescued four of the crew using a rocket and breeches buoy. The Tynemouth lifeboat was the At this time the famous American artist, Wilmslow Homer , was staying at Cullercoats and painted the scene, the finished watercolour being currently on loan to the Baltimore Museum of Art.launched to rescue the remaining crew- members. The local artist George Horton later recalled his first encounter with Wilmslow Homer. ‘As I stood watching the rescue operations a little cab turned up with an old Cullercoats fisherman on the dicky: out stepped a dapper medium sized man with a watercolour sketching block and sat down on the ways. He made a powerful drawing with some watercolour and some pastel.’
Robert Jobling made at least two watercolour drawings of the same scene. The present example is dated 1881, and a later work, dated 1882, is illustrated on page 21 of A Romance with the North East: Robert and Isa Jobling by John Millard. This later example, as in the work of Wilmslow Homers painting includes the Tynemouth lifeboat rowing out to the wreck. This suggests that Robert Jobling must have known of Homer’s painting and included the lifeboat in his later version.
Winslow Homer spent some twenty months working and living at Cullercoats and during that time he produced a remarkable series of watercolours. His visit transformed his style of painting, and when he returned to America he became famous for his realist pictures. Homer’s influence on artists such as Robert Jobling is hard to assess. He was not well known in the community, but some of his compositions and those of Jobling are remarkably similar. His 1881 painting of Sparrow Hall, Cullercoats is a similar composition to Joblings 1880 Fisher life at Cullercoats,
The groupings and pose of the figures, and even the cat on the right of the painting are echoed in the work by Homer.