THE work of past artists to be shown on the Big Screen in Centenary Square in Bradford throughout May and June will again showcase the marvellous legacy left behind by artists who were born, or lived, in the Bradford District.

It is clear that the UK City of Culture Year in the district in 2015 will rightly look to the present and the future of the arts in the city and district.

But I hope there will be a focus too, on the life and works of local past artists and the treasure trove of art they left behind.

Some of the paintings by Tom Butterfield and Kershaw Schofield, for example, are over a hundred years old now.

But they are as interesting, fresh and striking now as they were when first exhibited. Quality never goes out of fashion.

Some of the artwork to be featured on the screen was ahead of the curve, too, as regards use of colour and form.

Marie Walker Last’s paintings fit that description and her work, I’m sure, will still impress us well into the future.

Here are the profiles of the six past artists artists to be featured on Bradford’s Big Screen:

* Tom Clifton Butterfield (1856 – 1937) was born in Keighley into a working class family.

When he left school he worked initially as a gardener, but attended evening classes in art. He became an art master, and later Head of the Keighley School of Art.

His own paintings were widely exhibited and collected. Tom became blind toward the end of his life.


* Hildred (‘Harry’) Harpin (1907 - 1990) was born near Huddersfield, but lived at Swartha, near Silsden for more than 20 years.

He was an art master at the Keighley Boys Grammar School, but in 1961 was ordained as a Catholic priest and served in Wales, and later in Assisi, Italy.

He was also a talented watercolour artist who painted landscape and religious scenes

* Edward Hill Lacey (1891 - 1967) was born in Bradford and rose from humble origins to become a successful London-based sculptor, sketch artist and drypoint etcher.

He studied art initially at Bradford Art School, then at the Slade in London.

His sculptures and engravings were widely commissioned and exhibited at a range of prestigious exhibitions in London, Manchester and Glasgow.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Etching by EH Lacey Etching by EH Lacey (Image: Colin Neville)

* Marie Walker Last (1917 - 2017) was born in Kirklees, but lived and worked at Ilkley from the 1960s onwards.

She studied at the Chelsea School of Art and became a successful abstract and expressionist painter and printmaker, whose work was widely exhibited and collected both in the UK and overseas.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Darkening Skies by Marie Walker Last Darkening Skies by Marie Walker Last (Image: Colin Neville)

* Louisa Frances Pesel (1870 -1947), was born in Bradford. She became a distinguished embroidery artist, textile historian, teacher and writer.

She is remembered locally for helping shell-shocked soldiers in Bradford during WW1 with therapeutic embroidery, and later for her work in the 1930s at Winchester Cathedral designing and overseeing the embroidery of kneelers and cushions by hundreds of volunteers.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Cathedral alter cloth by Louisa PeselBradford Cathedral alter cloth by Louisa Pesel (Image: Colin Neville)

* Kershaw Schofield (1875-1941) was a Bradford-born painter of landscapes, seascapes and flower subjects in watercolour.

He exhibited work at the Royal Academy, as well as with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, and Manchester Academy. His paintings are in the public collections in Bradford, Huddersfield, and at the Hepworth Wakefield.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Landscape near Cottingley by Kershaw Schofield Landscape near Cottingley by Kershaw Schofield (Image: Bradford Museums and Galleries)

The Not Just Hockney website was launched in January 2015 and it now features more than 450 biographical profiles of artists past and present, divided almost equally between past and present professional visual artists.

All the artists featured have birth or residency Bradford district connections.

It started as a local history project to research the life and work of the Silsden artist and educator, Augustus Spencer.

But once you start researching one artist, you find a network of others - and soon I had found at least eight additional artists all associated with Spencer. I began to see the need for a website to link them all together.

* Silsden based Colin Neville is the author of nine books about Bradford district artists.

“Most of the books feature the lives and work of past artists, but a number also look at artists of today,” says Colin. “The Bradford District Murals title, for example, is a snapshot in time at 2022 when the book was published, and many of the mural artists featured are still very much with us. The same can’t be said for some of the murals though, as a number have already been swept along by time and events.

“Twelve murals in the Jacobs Well and Hall Ings network of subways, for example, have bit the dust since 2022. “Hopefully with City of Culture on the horizon next year, more will appear in and around the city.”

All the books, along with more information on the featured artists, can be found on the Not Just Hockney website at Profits from sales go to support the community-managed Silsden Town Hall.

* The Past Bradford District Artists presentation starts on Wednesday, May 1 and will be shown daily at 12.30pm on the Big Screen until the end of June.