A NEW book spotlights one of the district's most popular landscape artists.

Faith & Art: The Life and Work of Joseph Pighills charts the rise to success that the artist enjoyed, particularly in his later years.

Author is Silsden man Colin Neville, who manages the Not Just Hockney website.

He wrote the book with the support of Joseph Pighills' son, John.

Joseph, or Joe as he preferred to be known, was born in 1901 and left school at 14 to learn the trade of engineering pattern making.

But in his own time he began to paint the landscape around his home at Marsh, Oxenhope.

"His paintings – over time – certainly struck a chord with art lovers across the region and elsewhere," says Colin.

"A solo exhibition of Joe’s work in March, 1978, at the Trawden Gallery near Colne led to 47 of his paintings being sold in the first 20 minutes.

"But Joe never let success go to his head. He read the Bible all his adult life and believed in the proverb that ‘pride cometh before a fall’. His wife, Mary, his most loyal supporter and sternest critic, would be on hand too to keep him grounded."

Although he attended part-time classes at Keighley School of Art, Joe was largely self-taught and became an active member of Keighley Art Club.

His reputation soared in the early 1960s when he was offered a number of solo shows.

"The success of these shows prompted Joe to take early retirement from his job as a pattern maker to concentrate on his painting," says Colin.

"He used a range of media – including watercolour, pastel, Cryla acrylics and Gouache – and is also known to have tried wood engraving.

"Although Joe painted still life and other subjects, it will be his studies of local villages – particularly Haworth and Oxenhope – and his marvellous landscape scenes that will be best remembered.

"His landscape paintings were a tangible expression of his awe of the natural world and a testament to his religious beliefs."

Joe lived all his life at Marsh – he died in 1984 in the house where he was born.

The book is the seventh in the Not Just Hockney series, featuring the lives and work of Bradford-district artists.

It is available, priced £6, via notjusthockney.info. As with the other books in the series, profits from sales support Silsden Town Hall.