Keighley School of Art Talk

A reminder that July’s monthly meeting will be on Wednesday 10th July 2024. It will be held upstairs in Keighley Library.

The guest speaker will be Colin Neville, curator of the Not Just Hockney website about artists from the local area. His talk is entitled “Keighley School of Art” and will outline the history of the School, from its origins in the Keighley Mechanics Institute, founded in 1825, to its demise as an independent institution in the 1950s. He will also present illustrated profiles of some of the most successful local artists associated with the School, including Silsden artists Jack Clarkson, Dorothy Wade, and Augustus Spencer, as well as artists from Keighley and Haworth, including Joe Pighills, Frances Watson Sunderland, Annie Hugill, Frank Roper, Allan Laycock, George Demaine, and Alex Smith.

Colin says: “For over eighty years, the Keighley School of Art (later renamed Keighley School of Art and Crafts) was regarded as one of the most progressive and successful in the West Riding of Yorkshire. This was largely because of the strong-minded and talented people involved in its history and development. People like Walter Smith, the first Head of the School: one of eleven children from a working class background, Smith was a passionate advocate for the role of art in the lives of ordinary men and women; local mill owner, Sir Swire Smith: art lover and philanthropist; he had a significant influence on securing national funding and recognition for the School; Tom Butterfield: a talented artist himself, as its Head he successfully steered the School through the last years of the 19th and into the 20th century with his progressive and humane leadership; and Alfred Rodway, the School Principal 1927-1939: another committed and determined character who oversaw a big expansion of craft courses at the School during the late 1920s and 1930s.”

As well as speaking, Colin will have a selection of some of his books on local artists available to buy on the night. The books cost £5 each (cash only please). A lot of his books are also available to browse in Keighley Local Studies Library.

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7.15 pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Colin’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm.

Anyone is welcome to come along and if people wish to join the society they can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address). History Society members also have the option of joining the meeting via Zoom.

Author: Admin Tim

Tim is a committee member of the Keighley and District Local History Society, with responsibilities for archiving the physical and digital collections, and managing some of the social media channels. He moved to Keighley about 15 years ago and joined the Society to learn more about the area.

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