Frank Meadow Sutcliffe was born in Leeds in 1853, just 14 years after the birth of photography. He was the son of Thomas Sutcliffe, an artist, lecturer and art critic.
In 1870 the family moved to Whitby, where they had often spent their summer holidays. His father died the following year and Frank, now the head of the family at eighteen, decided to make his living with a camera.
Whitby in Victorian times was a thriving tourist resort and Frank Sutcliffe became very successful taking studio portraits of the wealthy holiday makers.
Taking portraits in a studio paid the bills, but Sutcliffe really wanted to photograph the everyday working people in Whitby and the beautiful surrounding countryside.
He developed an affection and respect for the town and its people which shines through his work, producing photographs which were not only of the highest technical merit, but also displayed great artistry.
Between 1880 and 1894, Sutcliffe was awarded over sixty gold, silver and bronze medals at exhibitions as far a field as New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, Chicago and Vienna, as well as at major exhibitions in this country.