A NEW book will highlight the work of a talented artist who taught generations of Bolton painters and decorators.
Leslie Priestley worked at Bolton College of Art from the early 1950s to the 1980s where he worked with students studying for City and Guilds and Union of Lancashire and Cheshire Institutes Examinations.
His work throughout this period has now been collected by his daughters in the hope that it will inspire a new set of artists keen to learn from their talented father who died in 1998.
Lesley Alston said: “Whilst downsizing our father’s belongings after our mother died, my sister Irene and I realised that he had kept his demonstration work from his time at Bolton College of Art in the attic.
“He insisted that we should get rid of it all as he thought it would be of no interest to anyone. We thought it would be a shame to destroy a lifetime’s work and so after his death we began the long process of restoring, sorting, cataloguing, scanning and archiving the whole collection.”
The result is ‘Leslie Priestley – Master Painter’ which Lesley and Irene hope will highlight some of their father’s mastery of techniques like marbling, graining, heraldry and signwriting.
Lesley said: “As it took so long, by the time we had completed the archiving , technology had advanced so much that we were able to use computers, scanners and storage on portable USBs instead of the problem of how to save it all. We then had to find a home for the collection and after exploring various options, eventually Bolton Museum and Art Gallery agreed to take it and store it in their Archive Department, The Chadwick Resource Centre, where it can be viewed by appointment.
“We were very pleased that it is being looked after in Bolton where we thought it belonged. Most of Leslie’s students were locals and went on to have a career in decorating.”
Leslie was originally from Bury and worked for William J Bolton, Decorators & Signwriters, before the war which saw him join the Royal Artillery where he painted lettering on vehicles and produced signs for the army.
After joining the Municipal School of Art, Leslie’s achievements included the full-colour and gold-leaf restoration of Bolton’s Coat of Arms at the Town Hall in 1973 and the restoration of the Royal Coat of Arms at Deane Church, Bolton in 1976 and his production of a Bolton Coat of Arms presented to Bolton’s twin-town, Le Mans, in July 1973.
“He made the most of every opportunity that came his way and enjoyed his life to the full, acknowledging that he had been very lucky with his work and his family,” said Lesley, who now lives near Halifax. “There were ups and downs like any family has and he could be short tempered when busy or stressed but mostly got on with things with a dry sense of humour.”
Leslie Priestley – Master Painter is available to buy on Amazon.
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