Arthur Reginald Smith, landscape painter, was born in Skipton, the son of a chemist, but studied art at evening classes at Keighley School of Art, and later worked there as a tutor. In 1901 he became a student at the Royal College of Art, in London, and in 1904 was awarded the full diploma from the painting school.
In 1905 he was awarded a scholarship which allowed him to travel to Italy, where he studied for a year. On his return, Augustus Spencer, the College Principal, found him teaching positions at schools in London, and he supplemented this work by running art classes at Leighton House.
During the First World War he served in the Artists Rifles Regiment. After the war he moved back to Yorkshire, settling at Threshfield, where he lived for the rest of his life.
He showed work at the Royal Academy, Royal Watercolour Society (RWS), Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours (RSW). He exhibited over 400 works at the Fine Arts Society, and had a solo show at the Society in 1914. He was elected a full member of the RWS in 1925 and RSW in 1926.
Commissions included work for private apartments at Marlborough House and at Buckingham Palace. He also painted a portrait of Lord Lawrence, Viceroy of India. Examples of his work are in the Government Art Collection and 70 of his works were sold at Bonhams in Leeds in 2003, the proceeds going to Giggleswick School. Bradford Museums and Galleries and the Craven Museum at Skipton hold examples of his work.
He illustrated Halliwell Sutcliffe’s The Striding Dales (1929) and a reprint edition of W G Collingwood’s The Lake Counties (1932).
The artist went missing near the Strid on the River Wharfe, at Bolton Abbey on the 14th September, 1934. His body was found eleven days later by a local water diviner, who pointed to a pool fifty yards downstream from where the artist’s easel and painting bag were found. The police dragged the spot and found the artist’s body. His ashes were later scattered in the river he loved to paint (see ‘Drowned).