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Denis Healey the artist

Thanks for sending this in RMH. Trunks of family papers often yield treasures fit to share and even research further...Et tu Healey!

Found in a trunk of family papers, this water colour depicts a churchyard somewhere in the Yorkshire dales. The artist is elder statesman Denis Healey, now Baron Riddlesden, and the sketch dates from around 1934, when the 17 year old Denis was cycling around the countryside of his adopted Yorkshire capturing its essence. The palette and style suggests that he was influenced a little by Paul Nash, and later he was to claim Ethelbert White as an inspiration.

Denis was encouraged by some pretty good local artists in his late teens, but he gave up painting when he went to Oxford, and later took up photography instead. ‘I was good’, he later admitted,’ but not that good’. I think he had genuine gifts, but then I’m biased. Judge for yourself. [R.M. Healey]

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