Image: Keighley News
William Parker (1922 – 2017) was born in Keighley and educated at the the Holy Croft School. He showed artistic ability from an early age and at 13 was allowed to study art at Keighley Art School (Mechanics’ Institute) for a year on day release from school.
After leaving school, he found work in a local mill, where he stayed until 1942, when he served in the army as a Chindit in the WW2 Burma Campaign.
After the war, he began to paint when he was employed as a lamplighter in Oxenhope and was inspired by the Aire and Worth valleys. After the demise of gas lighting, he worked for the remainder of his working life with British Gas as a labourer based in Keighley, but again the outdoor nature of hs work gave him opportunity to observe the landscape, but it was only after he had retired in 1984 that he began to paint seriously.
Silsden Beck’ by William Parker. Image: It’s Art (see website below)
His subjects were predominantly the land and townscape of the South Pennines and William’s work came to prominence when British Gas North Eastern’s employees and pensioners were invited to submit paintings for a 1991 British Gas calendar. The artist, Ashley Jackson, was invited to pick 12 images from paintings submitted, and among them were five watercolour landscapes by William.
William Parker and colleagues display paintings he submitted for the British Gas art competition. Image: Keighley News
The publicity from the calendar paintings helped William to sell more of his work through open exhibitions and commercial galleries: (See examples in It’sArt) It is now to be found in private collections locally and internationally.
‘The Mill Bridge, Skipton’. Image: It’s Art (see website above)