The Altar Painting
This piece of work was painted by James Cranke the elder, born in Urswick in 1707. He was a self taught artist and attended the London Academy of St Martin’s Lane and became a portrait artist of some repute in the 1740’s and 1750’s and had a studio in Bloomsbury Square and is suggested it was financed in part by his marriage to an Heiress in 1744.
In 1751 he moved back to Furness, first to Ulverston and finally residing in Little Urswick where he remained until his death some 30 years later at the age of 73 in 1780.
His artistic talent seems to have been inherited by his son James and there is some evidence to suggest that he gave tuition to George Romney, who lived in Dalton until 1762 and went on to become one of the nations leading portrait painters in London. It appears that our altar piece is Cranke’s only religious work