A farm in North Yorkshire; photo by Alan Walker, via Wikimedia Commons  

Minor artists appeal to me. They please without overwhelming; they provide assurance that work at levels of attainment lower than the very highest is still worth the effort. The view from mountain peaks is no doubt sublime, but Man does not live by sublimity alone.

I recently discovered a new minor artist—new to me, that is—while staying a few weeks in Whitby, an ancient town on the North Yorkshire coast. He was George Weatherill, born in 1810, the son of a farm laborer; he moved up in the world to become a bank...