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Victor Noble Rainbird (12 December 1887 – 8 March 1936) was a painter, stained glass artist and illustrator.


Victor Noble Rainbird from Shields Daily News circa 1910

Victor Noble Rainbird was born on 12 December 1887 in North Shields United Kingdom, son of James William Rainbird (b. Ireland 1856, m. 1884) and Rosabella Foubister (b. 1859). Victor had an elder brother William Stewart Rainbird, born in early 1886 in North Shields.

Victor attended King's College (now Newcastle University), Newcastle upon Tyne, where he distinguished himself and won several prizes. His pictures were included in a government exhibition which toured Australia, New Zealand and Canada. He later attended the Royal Academy Schools where he twice won Silver Medals as well as the Landseer Scholarship.

On 15 July 1916, Rainbird married Elizabeth Kirkley at York Registry Office, whilst he was a Lance Corporal (38539) in the 6th Northumberland Fusiliers. After the war he left as Corporal in the Durham Light Infantry (46585) and practised as a professional artist in North Shields and exhibited works at the Artists of the Northern Counties exhibitions at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne, at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and also at the Royal Academy. Victor made several trips to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and a large proportion of his work is of continental subjects. Common works that Rainbird executed many times are of Dutch fisherfolk, the sea and seafront at and around North Shields, and impressions of Rouen and Amiens, Dieppe & Tyne Harbours, Old Ropery Stairs, and North Shields. Rarer subjects include stained glass window images, portraits and still life (flowers).

It appears that Rainbird used his paintings to pay his way through life and often seemed to have done paintings to 'pay for his supper'. His work often appears at auctions worldwide, but most commonly at the Newcastle upon Tyne auction house Anderson and Garland, where an average watercolor work of 10 x 14 inches would make around GBP 85.00 (2015) in their quarterly auctions of Fine Art.

It was thought that the only surviving example of stained glass work by the artist can be found in Papa Stour Kirk, on the island of Papa Stour in Shetland. It was commissioned to commemorate six Papa men who were lost in World War I and was fitted in 1921. The window depicts Jesus calming a storm. However, in 2014 a fan of Victor Noble Rainbird found two of his missing stained glass windows in Trinity Methodist Church in Allendale Northumberland. They depicts an image of Jesus and a Soldier and after being lost for over 94 years Victors stained glass windows had been found again.


Plaque on the outside wall of 71 West Percy Street

Between 1917 and 1933, Victor Noble Rainbird lived at 71 West Percy Street, North Shields. The house still has a blue commemorative plaque marking his residence.
References

The artists of Northumbria: A dictionary of Northumberland and Durham painters, draughtsmen and engravers, born 1647–1900. ISBN 0-903858-00-2
General Register Office - 12 December 1887 Tynemouth - Birth - Index page 1888 Tynemouth Q1 10b 211.
General Register Office - 1916 York - Marriage - Index page 1916 York Q3 9d 111.
General Registry Office - 8 March 1936 Sunderland - Death - Index page 1936 Sunderland.
Ancestry.com. British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920.

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