Bill’s treasure uncovered

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A treasure trove of paintings by a former Cleckheaton headteacher are on show in Huddersfield.

The works were uncovered by Mark Milnes, the artistic director of the Creative Arts Hub in Mirfield, when he visited the home of Bill Jordan in 2011 and found an impressive collection which had not been shown publicly for many years.

Bill, who died that year, was headteacher at Lydgate School, Batley, for more than 20 years, and had a life-long love of painting.

Mark said: “His work is impressive in its range but also in its consistent pursuit of a variety of themes and styles – he produced images of sporting activity, and a range of portraits, landscapes and abstracts – all of which feature in the show.

“The work is fascinating on many levels; each of the themes is explored thoroughly by Bill and there are many stylistic interconnections as you move from theme to theme,” he said.

“There really is something for everyone in this work, whatever your particular taste in art; and when you bear in mind that painting was not Bill’s main career, his achievement is quite staggering.”

The exhibition was shown at Batley Art Gallery last year to great acclaim and it is now on display at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield until June 22. Opening times are 9.30am-5pm Monday to Saturday.

Bill, who lived with his wife Joyce in Cleckheaton, began his career as a teacher in 1946. A keen amateur sportsman, he did not take up painting until the age of 33, when he could no longer play rugby.

Solo exhibitions of his work were held at galleries in Cambridge, Doncaster, Harrogate, and he mounted a successful one-man exhibition at Batley Art Gallery in 1971, when two of his works – Towelling the Hair and Going to School – were purchased by the Batley Corporation. They are now part of the Kirklees Collection.

He had work selected for the Royal Academy Summer Show on several occasions and showed alongside David Hockney in the 1966 Yorkshire Artists Festival Exhibition – exhibiting three paintings.

Throughout his long career as an artist he produced landscapes, sporting images, abstract work and sculptures using scrap materials.

For more information on the exhibition visit www.thelbt.org/William-Jordan-retrospective.