A LITTLE-known painting by the distinguished artist Hildred Harpin has been loaned to Silsden Campaign for the Countryside for its next fundraising event.

Springtime in Swarth will be exhibited for the first time at Silsden Town Hall on Saturday June 1, alongside photographs taken by local people to celebrate the splendour of spring in the local countryside.

The group, set up last year, successfully fought against plans to build a road from Bolton Road across fields, footpaths and wildlife sites to a potential housing site.

Mr Harpin, who died in 1990, lived at the Silsden hamlet of Swartha for many years, after studying at the Royal College of Art and becoming a teacher at Keighley School of Art and Keighley Boys Grammar School.

His reputation, particularly for his paintings on an ecclesiastical theme, grew rapidly throughout the north and his work is still featured today at churches in Yorkshire and Shropshire. The later years of his life were spent as a Catholic priest in Assisi.

Springtime in Swartha has been loaned to the campaign group by a friend of Mr Harpin, local resident Joan Todd, who received the painting as a wedding present from him more than 60 years ago.

She said: “He was particularly concerned at the time that lovely Swartha Wood was under threat, and he wanted to capture an image of the scene before it was changed forever.

“Fortunately the felling of the wood did not happen, but it demonstrates an early concern for the environment, which is just as relevant today.”

The June 1 event will also include coffee and home-made cakes; stalls selling books, DVDs and bric-a-brac; and displays by groups such as Plastic Free Silsden, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust.

Town councillor Caroline Whitaker, a co-founder of the Campaign, will be promoting the re-use of everyday household items with a dedicated stall.

The spring-themed event runs from 9.30am until 12.30pm and proceeds will benefit the Campaign’s ongoing efforts to conserve well-loved local fields, footpaths and wildlife from encroaching development.