Francis Meadow (Frank) Sutcliffe (1853–1941) was an English pioneering photographic artist whose work presented an enduring record of life in the seaside town of Whitby, England, and surrounding areas, in the late Victorian era and early 20th century. His documentation of the Victorian and Edwardian periods in Whitby, led him to be labelled as the “pictorial Boswell of Whitby.
“The essence of art is to conceal art,” wrote Frank. He made a living as a portrait photographer, working first in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and then for the rest of his life in Whitby, living in Broomfield Terrace in Whitby before moving to Sleights, Yorkshire.
His father had brought him into contact with prominent figures in the world of art such as John Ruskin, and he resented having to prostitute his art taking photographs of holiday-makers. His business in Skinner Street, a converted jet grinding and polishing works, rooted him to Whitby and the Eskdale valley but, by photographing the ordinary people that he knew well, he built up a most complete and revealing picture of a late Victorian town, and the people who lived and worked there.