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Ralph Hartley

Ralph Hartley (1926-1988) was a landscape artist based in Kettering, Northamptonshire who flourished in the 1960s. He was awarded a Silver Medal at the Paris Salon of 1966. He also exhibited at the Royal Academy, New English Art Club, Royal Society of British Artists and Industrial Painters Group. His work is included in the permanent collection of Northampton Art Gallery and the Alfred East Art Gallery in Kettering. In 1967 Sir David Scott of Boughton House wrote of Mr. Hartley’s work: ‘It is the work of an Englishman and a countryman, and a Midlander at that. His trees are unmistakably those of the Midland countryside – ash, sycamore, oak, willow, elm. In his landscapes you can hear the birds sing, the leaves and branches rustle, you can see the cloud shadows slide across the undulating grass and ploughlands … Above all, his skies are English, matching the season of the year, whether grey and watery or blue and cloud-flecked… There is a vigour and obvious delight in the act of painting which gives his work a special vitality: his pictures are alive, and any possessor of them will find that they wear well, for they have hidden reserves.’

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Near the Priory, Lewes, East Sussex
A watercolour measuring 21½” x 28”. Signed Ralph Hartley. Label verso: ‘H. Foster / Framing and Prints / 90 High Street, Lewes’.

The Subject
Hartley used to get his paintings framed at…

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…Dinsdales in Kettering, where he struck up a friendship with Henry Foster, one of the framers. When Foster moved to Lewes to set up his own business, Hartley went to visit him and painted this landscape.

Tree under Grey Skies
A watercolour measuring 18” x 14½”. Signed Ralph Hartley. Label verso: ‘W.F. Knight Limited / 2 Park Road, Wellingborough, Northants / Picture Framing etc.’

St Mary’s Church, Rushden, Northamptonshire
A watercolour measuring 20” x 14”. Signed Ralph Hartley. Inscribed verso: St Mary’s Church, Rushden.

The Subject
The medieval parish church…

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…of St Mary’s in Rushden has a unique appearance due to the large crockets and openwork flying buttresses on its spire, and its distinctive ironstone banding.

Fakenham, North Norfolk
A watercolour measuring 21¼” x 28¾”. Signed Ralph Hartley.

The Subject
Fakenham is a historic market town in North Norfolk. This is a view of the medieval parish church of St Peter & St Paul, looking north from Tunn Street. The buildings on Tunn Street are in typical Norfolk materials of flint and red brick.