SIR Bracewell Smith gave Cliffe Castle Park to the borough of Keighley then only nine years later, in 1959, the mansion reopened for use as a museum and art gallery.

Bracewell Smith was Lord Mayor of London and by the nature of that appointment was in a position to visit many auspicious places and people. One of his main duties was culture and art.

So it is possible that the Arts Council’s exhibition at Cliffe Castle in May and June 1965 might be related to the gift of the park and Smith’s connections in London.

The exhibition started in Cambridge, then moved to Kings Lynn, Huddersfield and Keighley, between February and November 1965. It featured pictures created during the Second World War.

In 1939 on the outbreak of the Second World War, an Arts Advisory Committee had been set up by the government’s official War Artist Scheme and by the end of the war six years later, nearly 6,000 works had been produced.

All those artworks listed in the exhibition were by male artists, the most recognisable being Henry Moore, Paul Nash, John Piper and Stanley Spencer. The most local painting loaned to the exhibition was from the City Art Gallery in Leeds, called At the Coal Face, A Man Fixing Prop, from 1942 and created in chalk.

A total of 21 artists were commissioned, and reflected conditions or events internationally. After the war, their works were in demand by many countries.

Permits to paint during the war were not easy to obtain. One female – Phyllis Pearsall (sister to, Anthony Gross who exhibited work at the Cliffe Castle event in 1965) drew many works of women in wartime. Some of her works were shown in London in 2016.

Titles of paintings in the 1965 exhibition were as varied as the 21 artists. Some were obvious choices, but others portrayed aspects which were unexpected.

Some of the interesting titles illustrate this: Shelter Scenes, At The Coal Face, Devastation, HMS Royal Ark Royal in Action, Ruins of the House Of Commons, Coastal Defences, Escape of the Zebra from the Zoo During an Air Raid.

The introduction to the exhibition catalogue considers that words are strengthened with illustrations. The statement was made before mobile phone cameras and TV cameras were in use, but the same visual and written connections remain.

Keighley Art Club’s activities are unknown during the war and up to 1965.

Historic information about the club members would be welcome to our Facebook page or by calling me on 01535 669914 any morning.

Keighley Art Club’s annual winter break ends on February 19 next year, when Pat Jones will visit to show us her style of painting.