Born in Denton, Greater Manchester in 1903, Harry Rutherford is one of the North's most renowned artists. For much of his life he lived in Hyde, where he attended the Hyde College of Art.
Leaving school at fourteen, Rutherford continued his artistic training attending evening classes at the Manchester School of Art, where he was taught by Adolphe Valette alongside fello...w pupils L.S. Lowry and James Fitton.
In 1925 Walter Sickert opened an art class for students of which Rutherford was one. The influence of Sickert is evident throughout the work of Harry Rutherford, particularly in a shared love of the theatre.
Early on in his career, Rutherford spent time in Cornwall with the Newlyn Schools of painters and light and colour infused his work from this time. Alongside his painting, Rutherford was employed as an illustrator for the print media, as he had a quick eye for sketching caricatures and cartoons.
In 1936, during the early days of television, Rutherford was invited to participate in a programme called ‘Cabaret Cartoons’ during which he would stand in the wings of the studio and draw the variety acts as they performed. These quick sketches would be shown live on television. Rutherford was a pioneer of graphic illustration on television and in the 1950s appeared on a regular 15 minute programme called ‘Sketchbook’.
His paintings of Manchester life have a strong market, but almost equally popular are his Cornish and European landscapes and cartoons and sketches. Although Rutherford was proud of his northern roots and mainly focused on local scenes around Hyde, he also has an international reputation, partly due to his television work.
Rutherford continued to travel widely, spending time in Borneo in 1957, France and Spain. However he is most loved for his paintings of the industrial landscape and life around his home town of Hyde. These include his painting ‘Northern Saturday’ 1948, now held in Ashton Town Hall and ‘Mill Girls’ 1948.
Harry had numerous exhibitions in London galleries and he was invited to hold a series of exhibitions in Borneo in 1957. In the late 1950s, the artist returned to Hyde to 17 Nelson Street and was elected President of MAFA. Later in life taught at the Regional College of Art in Manchester, his pupils included internationally renowned painter Geoffrey Key.
The Astley Cheetham Collection holds a large amount of his work, including television sketches, drawings and paintings