Plea to fund first book on Letchworth artist

A MUSEUM group has launched a plea to art lovers in a bid to ensure the work of a prominent Letchworth GC artist is published.

North Herts Museums Service plan to produce an illustrated book of work by artist William Ratcliffe, who lived in the town for many years from 1906, but does not have the funding to do so without help from the public.

Despite Ratcliffe’s reputation as an important artist - he was a founder member of the Camden Art Group along with Walter Sickert, Augustus John, Spencer Gore and Harold Gilman - there has never been a book dedicated solely to his work.

The Museums Service, run by North Herts District Council (NHDC), has been promised grant-aid by Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, Letchworth Civic Trust and Letchworth Garden City Society to print a book on Ratcliffe but are asking subscribers to come forward as there is still a shortfall of �1,200.

Subscribers are asked to pledge a minimum of �50 in exchange for a copy of the book - which is to include 100 full-colour reproductions of oils, watercolours, prints and drawings - and having their name printed in a list of subscribers at the front.

It is hoped the book, which will cost around �10 with any profits used to conserve and mount the Ratcliffe paintings at Letchworth Museum, will be published in time to mark the centenary of the Camden Group’s first exhibition in June, 1911.

Cllr Tricia Cowley, NHDC portfolio holder for Community Engagement, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to help us promote the work of an important local artist. Many of Ratcliffe’s paintings were set in Letchworth and he came here in the very early days of the new Garden City.

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“It would be wonderful to see this book published so please do subscribe if you feel you can.”

For more information contact Ros Allwood, NHDC cultural services manager, on 01462 435197 or email