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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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British Steel Works, Corby, Northamptonshire
A watercolour measuring 21¾” x 29¾”. Signed Ralph Hartley and dated 1965.

The Subject
A fine record of Corby’s industrial past. The British Steel Works closed in 1979.

Ramsey, Huntingdon
A watercolour measuring 22” x 30½”. Signed Ralph Hartley and dated 1967.

The Subject
Thought to be a view along a track known locally as Factory Bank, running alongside the High Lode river which flows into Ramsey from the old River Nene.

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.

View of Kettering parish church, Northamptonshire
A watercolour measuring 22” x 31”. Signed Ralph Hartley and dated December 1967.

The Subject
A view of the spire of St Peter & St Paul, the medieval parish church of Kettering, from the fields to the south, on the approach from Northampton.

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.