A NEW book features the work of the locally-connected artist, Richard Eurich, during his time as an Official War Artist between 1939-45. The book, ‘William Rothenstein and Richard Eurich: War Artists’, by Silsden resident, Colin Neville, presents the work of the two Bradford-born artists, both appointed respectively as Official War Artists in the two world wars.

This is the fourth book on past local artists by Mr Neville, who curates the Not Just Hockney website that features past and present artists from the Bradford district.

The Eurich family moved to Ben Rhydding from Bradford in 1920, and Richard Eurich trained initially at Bradford School of Art before continuing his studies at the Slade Art School in London. After graduation, Eurich, although he eventually moved to Hampshire, retained strong links with Yorkshire. During his studies at Bradford School of Art, he had become fascinated by the work of the artist, J.M.W. Turner after seeing the Turner collection of paintings at Farnley Hall, and echoes of Turner’s style would later feature in Eurich’s war paintings. Eurich also named his home at Dibden Purlieu, overlooking Southampton Water, ‘Appletreewick’ in memory of his years spent exploring the Wharfe Valley.

The two wars were to prove significant turning points for both artists. For Rothenstein, from a German-Jewish heritage, the disturbing wave of anti-German hostility that followed in the wake of the start of the 1914-18 war, focused his mind on how he could serve Britain, the country of his birth. And for Eurich, from a Quaker background, the start of the war in 1939 presented him with the same dilemma: how to serve his country, but without compromising his pacifist beliefs.

Both men found an answer in art. The socially well-connected Rothenstein was a key influencer in the foundation of the British Official War Artist scheme, and became an Official War Artist himself in 1917, bringing him into direct contact with the carnage of war. For Eurich, the War Artist scheme was the way forward for him too, by allowing him to present the unvarnished reality of warfare during the second world war on the land, in the sky, and particularly at sea.

The colour-illustrated book is available for £5 and can be ordered through the home page of Not Just Hockney at notjusthockney.info Profits from sales, as with the other books in the series, will go to support the community-managed Silsden Town Hall.