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The Painting

A watercolour measuring 21½" x 28". Signed Ralph Hartley. Label verso: ‘H. Foster / Framing and Prints / 90 High Street, Lewes’.

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

Near the Priory, Lewes, East Sussex. Hartley used to get his paintings framed at 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.

Ralph Hartley

Near the Priory, Lewes, East Sussex

Ralph Hartley - Near the Priory, Lewes, East Sussex