THIS month marked the 200th anniversary of the death of one of the area’s most famous artists: George Cuitt the elder.

Only when he was born in the North Yorkshire village of Moulton, near Scotch Corner, in 1743 his surname was Kewit. He changed it to Cuit and his son, George, then added a second t.

The talent of George the elder came to the notice of Sir Lawrence Dundas, of Aske Hall, near Richmond, who paid for him to hone his artistic skills in Rome for six years. George then returned home and made a good living painting the great houses of the region.

He also painted the scenery for the opening of Richmond’s Georgian Theatre in 1788.

He died on February 7, 1818, and was buried at St Mary’s, about three weeks after his wife, Jane.

Their only son, George the younger, became a well regarded artist in his own right. He settled at Masham and was noted for his etchings of Yorkshire abbeys.

It is, though, the works of the elder George which are most prized. In 2001, Christie’s in London estimated that a lot of six of his sketches of Richmond would sell for £30,000. The hammer fell at £135,750.