TOM CLIFTON Butterfield’s talent swiftly took him to the top of the Keighley art world in the late 1800s and culminated in him helping wounded war veterans train for new jobs.

Tom was born in Keighley in 1856 into a working-class family: his father was a wool-sorter, and his mother a former domestic servant.

Tom started work at a young age and he followed the footsteps of his maternal grand-father by becoming as a gardener.

But Tom was talented in drawing and at the age of 10 applied for membership of the Keighley Mechanics Institute art evening class, where, by the age of 13, he was already winning prizes for his work.

Between 1873 and 1879 he became a regular prize-winner at the Institute for his art, receiving certificates and small sums of money. In 1881 he gained an Art Master’s Certificate and obtained employment at the newly-opened Keighley School of Art as an assistant art teacher.

In 1889 Tom Butterfield became the Head of Keighley School of Art and held this post until 1919.

Under his direction the school expanded with new subjects, including crafts of wood and stone-carving, painting and decorating, cabinet-making, weaving and book-binding.

The introduction of these crafts was to prove invaluable to local World War One wounded soldiers, forced to seek training for new skills.

In addition to his responsibilities at the School of Art, Tom was developing his own painting, which predominantly featured Keighley and the surrounding countryside.

Butterfield’s speciality was watercolour and landscape art – his early gardening experience helped his understanding of trees and plants – and his work became popular locally and elsewhere.

Outside the Yorkshire region, he exhibited his artwork at the Glasgow Institute on four occasions and was a great-uncle to Edward Atkinson Cornel, the famous Kirkcudbright artist, whose mother, Anne, originated from Bingley.

The two artists were on friendly terms and Hornel visited Tom at his home at Thwaites Brow.

Tom’s eyesight escalated his retirement from the art school and he become progressively blinder, although he continued to paint for as long as he was able.

During his latter years, when taken for local walks by friends and relatives, he could still describe in detail from memory the scenes before him, but that he could no longer see.

At his funeral in 1937 Tom was described as ‘quiet in manner and of a retiring disposition; he is distinctly of the type of men who do good work, if not by stealth at least without ostentation’.

A local artist, Frances Watson Sunderland, who was tutored by Tom Butterfield, also spoke at his funeral of his influence at Keighley Art School.

Frances said: “His outlook on art was stimulating, and all of us who were under him in those days felt his influence. We were taught to look for and appreciate beauty in all its forms.”

Bradford Museums and Galleries hold examples of Tom Butterfield’s including The Lily Pond, believed to be inspired by the pond (now newly restored) in the grounds of Cliffe Castle.

l Colin Neville runs the website which showcases the life and work of many artists across the district in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Colin also curates regular exhibitions of artwork by present-day artists from Bradford district, which are projected for two months at a time on the Big Screen in Bradford City Square.

Photography, paintings and textile work depicting water are among the images being shown in the latest display, which runs until the end of October.

Among the six artists for September and October is Keighley man Rob Walsh, a photographer, proof-reader and local broadcaster with BCB Radio.

His photography subject range is wide, but with an emphasis toward textures, patterns, and landscapes, including the observation of water in nature.

His water photographs have been exhibited at the Bradford Trapezium Gallery, and also at the Bradford Open in 2019.

The-up also includes Pat Belson who uses a range of art media; Ian Burdall who specialises in seascapes; Pippa Hamilton, a textile and mixed media artist; Addingham-based freelance artist Julia Keates who works in oil, acrylic and mixed media; and textile artist Catherine Slater.

The Not Just Hockney exhibition runs every day at 12.30pm on the Big Screen, which is run by UNESCO City of Film.