Labour of love puts Peter on the page

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A NEW book is being written about the life of Brighouse artist Peter Brook.

The book will contain many of Peter’s paintings which have not previously been put on public display and reminiscences by friends and colleagues.

It is hoped that the book will be ready for publication by the end of the year.

It is being compiled by Peter’s friend, David Walker, along with photographer Richard Littlewood and Stuart Archer who provided the introduction to ‘Peter Brook: Pennine Landscape Painter’ which was published in 1992.

The three men are working closely with Peter’s widow Molly and two daughters. “It really is a labour of love,” said David, who used to live near the Brook family at Woodhouse Lane, Brighouse.

“Molly’s support is absolutely crucial to the enterprise. Peter was a fascinating man and had so many aspects to his life.

“He is remembered with a lot of affection as being a brilliant teacher in Sowerby Bridge, he was an excellent runner and then there was his career as an artist which brought him success in London and beyond. There will be more than 200 photographs in the book and we hope we can bring something new to the Peter Brook story.”

Peter Brook, who died in November 2009, was known for his paintings of Pennine landscapes - often in winter. He taught at Sowerby Bridge Grammar School before becoming a full-time artist in his 40s.

He painted many areas of the British Isles, including Scotland and Cornwall, but his first love was the Yorkshire Pennines.

Many of his paintings featured his beloved dog Shep and many of them depicted scenes less than 20 miles from his front door on Woodhouse Lane.

“We started discussing the idea for the book towards the end of last year and it’s going well. We have been looking at Peter’s paintings to make the selection for the book and Stuart is working on the text.

It is almost 20 years since the last book about Peter so there is a whole section of his life still to write about,” said David who now lives near Malvern.

One of Peter’s best-loved paintings, ‘Wuthering Heights’, is on show at the Piece Hall Art Gallery, Halifax, until March 27 and will later be exhibited at the Smith Art Gallery, Brighouse, alongside another of the artist’s paintings, ‘Elland’.

‘Wuthering Heights’, which was donated to Calderdale Council after Peter’s death, is also part of a search to find Yorkshire’s favourite painting.

Galleries across the region have put together a selection of most popular artworks which can be voted for online.

Another painting at the Smith Art Gallery which features in the Yorkshire favourites list is ‘Silent Pleading’, an 1859 work by Marcus Stone.

The project was triggered by the Public Catalogue Foundation which is photographing and recording all oil, acrylic and tempera paintings in publically owned collections in the UK.

It is estimated there are 200,000 such paintings - 10,000 in Yorkshire - but 80 per cent are hidden from public view in storerooms or public buildings. Yorkshire’s best paintings are now on show for the first time online at www.yorkshirefavourites.org