Frank Henry Mason

Frank Henry Mason was born on the 1st October 1875.

He lived with his grandfather, who was a lighthouse-keeper, under the Tees Conservatory.

Frank grew up surrounded by all things nautical. He enlisted as a cadet on HMS Conway in 1888, a Naval training ship moored at Birkenhead.

On leaving HMS Conway, Frank spent some time at sea. He then trained as a marine engineer working at Hartlepool, Leeds and Scarborough.

He eventually settled in Scarborough with his parents in about 1890.

As a result of his early enthusiasm for sailing he became a member of the Scarborough Sailing Club in 1895. This was along with fellow Scarborough artists Albert Strange and Ernest Dade.

The following year he became an elected member of the Humber Yawl Club. This was after being nominated by Albert Strange and seconded by George Holmes.

In later years, Frank attended other major yachting regattas around British coastal waters. Initially this was in the Solent then later in the Clyde. He went on to produce a large number of finished works of yachts racing.

By the time of the Great War, he had regularly exhibited his work at the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of British Artists.

During World War One, Frank volunteered as a lieutenant in the RNVR. He was in command of motor launches in the North Sea, Egypt and Malta.

He was later recalled by the Navy to work on dazzle camouflage and then became an official War artist attending the signing of the Turkish Armistice.

Frank moved back to Scarborough, whilst also renting a studio at Ebberston Hall, near Snainton in the Vale of Pickering. Here he produced much of his early poster artwork for the London and North Eastern railways. After gaining an exclusive contract with them in 1927, he moved to London.

In addition to this, he also designed posters for other railway and ocean liner companies, largely between the wars.

As an illustrator, Frank’s magnum opus was a series of 53 paintings which illustrated the front covers of the maritime monthly magazine, “Blue Peter”. This was between 1932 and 1936.

During World War Two he was again seconded to the Navy, this time to work on ‘dazzle’ camouflage.

Frank’s commercial art flourished after WW2 through advertising commissions from British Ropes Ltd and F.T. Everard & Sons, where he painted their merchant fleet

He always supported the sea-faring community. In the 1950’s Frank donated a trawler painting to the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen, in order to raise funds through publishing their Christmas cards.

In 1961, he was belatedly elected as a member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. He continued to paint until shortly before being admitted to the Dreadnought Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich where Frank died of a heart attack on 24 February 1965.