Local Whitby girl, Colette Shipley has become fascinated by the mysteries of the new art of photography and begins to create a record of her scenic home town with its tall ships and twin lighthouses, street urchins and weathered old fishermen. One day she encounters Arthur Newton who shares her passion for the town's unique atmosphere. Colette and Arthur begin a friendship that develops further. However, unbeknown to Collette, Arthur is also married with a young child. Arthur has tried to be content with his steady job at the railways and his marriage to his childhood sweetheart Rose. However even before meeting Colette, Arthur had been living a secret life, one which he has not shared with his family, friends or even Rose: he has a real talent for painting. His talent has blossomed under the tutelage of a sympathetic gallery owner, Ebenezer Hirst, and the patronage of Laurence Steel, an established painter in the Pre-Raphaelite school. Arthur is now faced with a difficult decision: remain comfortably in his railway job or risk the security of his wife and child by becoming a full-time artist.