SILSDEN artist Hildred Harpin’s renown has spread as far as the USA.

A woman living in Des Moines, Iowa, has spoken of her father’s fond links with the distinguished painter of Silsden landscapes.

Sue Overend Koehler’s father John Overend was a painting student of Harpin while living in Sutton and attending Keighley Boys Grammar School.

Sue spoke after being delighted by Silsden art enthusiast Colin Neville’s “interesting and informative” article about Harpin, recently published by the Keighley News.

Her approach comes as a little-known painting by Harpin, entitled Springtime in Swartha, is due to be exhibited in Silsden for the first time.

Sue said: “I have about six Harpin paintings including one nearly identical to the Swartha cottage shown in the Keighley News article.

“I have many of my dad’s paintings as well, some done when he was quite young in Yorkshire and later in other places where he lived or visited.

“Harpin’s influence is quite clear especially in the early work. Dad was really pleased to be able to visit Harpin in Assisi in the late 1970s.

“My dad became a very good painter of watercolours, and pen and ink with what colour, and he painted all his life.

“He emigrated to the USA after university and became a chemistry professor at the university of Minnesota, where I was born and raised.”

Hildred Harpin was a painter four years before becoming a priest in Assisi, where he met his former student Mr Overend.

Silsden Campaign for the Countryside will exhibit Springtime in Swartha on Saturday June 1 for its major fundraising event at Silsden Town Hall, from 9.30am until 12.30.

On display alongside the little-known picture will be photographs taken by Silsden people that celebrate the splendour of spring throughout the local countryside.

The event will also include coffee and home-made cakes, a variety of sale stalls offering books, DVDs and bric-a-brac, and displays by various groups such as Plastic Free Silsden, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust.

Proceeds of Saturday profits event will benefit the Campaign for the Countryside’s ongoing efforts to conserve well-loved local fields, footpaths and wildlife from encroaching development.

Although born near Huddersfield in 1907, Hildred Harpin lived at the Silsden hamlet of Swartha for many years.

He studied at the Royal College of Art and became a teacher at Keighley School of Art and Keighley Boys Grammar School.

His reputation grew rapidly throughout the north and his work is still featured today at churches in Yorkshire and Shropshire. He spent the later years of his life as a Catholic priest in Assisi.