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The Painting

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


About the Artist

Ralph Hartley (1926-1988) was a Kettering artist 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 of Northamptonshire… 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.’


The Subject

St Mary’s Church, Rushden, Northamptonshire. The medieval parish church 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.

Ralph Hartley


St Mary’s Church, Rushden, Northamptonshire


Ralph Hartley – St Mary’s Church, Rushden, Northamptonshire