Christopher Hartley (1903 – 1980) of Braithwaite Avenue, Keighley, was an ecclesiastical artist who, for over 4o years, decorated churches in Britain, USA, Ireland and other European countries with his mural paintings.
Christopher studied at Keighley Art College and later ran an art materials shop in Keighley. He made his name as an ecclesiastical artist and gained many commissions to paint large scale murals for churches in Britain and overseas.
He was particularly proud of a landscape, 35 feet in length, he completed for St. Anne’s Church, Keighley, and for a copy of ‘The Last Supper’, commissioned for the Keighley Apostolic Church. He also privately tutored and taught art to local people, including Doris Riley, who became a prolific local painter. In 1948 Christopher became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
He came close to death once after falling 50 feet whilst painting a church ceiling. Talking to a reporter from ‘The Keighley News’ in 1979, he said: “I’ve done everything the Old Masters have done … even Murillo fell from scaffolding!”
(Research is ongoing to add artwork images by Christopher Hartley to this post).