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Jigsaws of Whitby have a very long history

Not just Whitby jigsaws either, but jigsaws generally. Let’s just go back in time to 1760. That was the year the humble jigsaw was invented and patented as a pastime. John Spilsbury, a London cartographer and engraver, is credited with their beginning. Contrary to the name too, a jigsaw was never used to create them and originally they were made from rectangular planks of wood.

When you think of 1760, it’s remarkable that jigsaws remain popular to this day

Yet they do. They remain one of our best sellers at The North Yorkshire Gallery and we thought we’d try to analyse why in this our first blog post on our new website (with many more blog posts to follow on Whitby photography etc). You can of course browse and buy a Whitby jigsaw here. We’re very lucky to live and work in such a photogenic part of the country, North Yorkshire. It’s an area that has it all – a magnificent city as its shire capital, York; wondrous industrial and natural landscapes along the Tees; coupled with rolling clifftop coastal areas with honeypots like Sandsend, Staithes, Robin Hood’s Bay and Whitby as highlights. We’re biased of course but we think North Yorkshire is second to none in England and that’s why demand for Whitby photography and art continues to accelerate.

That’s why Whitby jigsaws, Staithes jigsaws and Robin Hood’s Bay jigsaws are enduringly popular

They are places that tourists and locals love to flock to, in any season, in any weather, because they’re all incredibly beautiful coastal towns. Whitby is famed for its whalebone arch, associations with Dracula, the Abbey and Captain Cook. Even without these though, Whitby is utterly charming. Its topography of a town perched on a plateau reveals a place that is timeless, with its harbour, iron North Sea and beach. We love working here. Jigsaws can capture Whitby in all its glory and if YouTube is full of unboxing videos of gadgets, jigsaws are the original experience of unboxing. You see the big picture on the front, unseal the box and begin the hugely satisfying task of building something from 500 or 1000 pieces. Adults and children love Lego; likewise Whitby jigsaws.

How do you construct your jigsaw of Whitby?

Let’s take this example below – the whalebone arches in Whitby.
Whitby’s Whalebones 1000 Piece Jigsaw
How would you start? We’d imagine it will be a variant on this? 
  1. Find your jigsaw mat or clear a space on a dining table or desk
  2. Sort the pieces out into “edge” and “middle”
  3. Divide into sections – pavement, whalebone, harbour, grass, benches (careful there’s five of them), sea, sky, town, Abbey?
  4. You then may create the border of the jigsaw with its straight edges
  5. Or you may begin on a certain section like the Abbey and “tile down” to the town from there

There’s no right or wrong way of course to create a big picture

You may do have your own way of working with a keen eye for fine detail, but what everyone says in 2021, is that constructing a jigsaw is still incredibly enjoyable. When you’ve pieced 1000 sections together, there will be immense satisfaction and a beautiful tiled image of Whitby to stand back and admire.

What you do after completing a Whitby jigsaw is up to you too

You may take a photo for friends or social media, leave it for a few days or weeks, to look at.  Or, you may decide to get it framed as a permanent testament to Whitby photography and our wonderful town. You may break it into pieces, place it on a shelf for another rainy day. Some of our repeat customers do frame them; others gift them; some collect them. We think they endure in popularity because there’s immense satisfaction in creating a big picture from 1000 pieces with friends and family. This past year, with Covid 19, has seen so many lockdown restrictions and many people are time rich. What better way to pass time than with a jigsaw pastime?

Let’s look at another Whitby jigsaw

Whitby’s 199 Steps 1000 Piece Jigsaw
This is an iconic view from the 199 steps of the harbour and cliffs beyond. To the right of the steps, for nature lovers, are two beautiful species of Centranthus – Ruber and Alba in this case.

Now where would you start with this jigsaw of Whitby?

The Centrathus, the edges or the white houses on the steps’ descent? The world is your oyster by the way!

As well as Whitby jigsaws, we sell others

If you look in our Gift Shop (or click the link here) you will find our full range. There’s more being added to so keep checking back. Robin Hood’s Bay is Whitby in miniature. It’s famed as the end of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk from St Bees in Cumbria, an almost 200 mile trek through three National Parks from West to East.  
  The beauty of all our jigsaws is that they are all precision cut and have the same dimensions of 690 mm x 480 mm, meaning you can, if you choose, make a feature of these by framing them and hanging on walls or shelves. We have others too of Staithes and The Shambles, York, with more to add soon.
We are going to be looking more at jigsaws in future blog posts. If you’ve enjoyed this, don’t forget to share it with friends and family and make sure you connect and follow us on our active social media channels. You can order any of the jigsaws (subject to stock) that we currently have by clicking below: JIGSAWS A new aspect of our website too is that you can pay securely too via credit or debit card and we deliver promptly with FREE UK SHIPPING. If you have any questions about Whitby jigsaws, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Laurie or Jemma at our Whitby photography shop.