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Arthur Reginald Smith was born in Skipton, Yorkshire and lived in Threshfield with his family. He initially studied at a Count Congregational School, which dedicated little time to drawing, although by an early age it was clear that he wanted to become an artist. His parents, a little wary of his preferred occupation insisted that he should become a teacher in elementary subjects, although he continued to study art at evening classes and sketched untiringly during his holidays.

By the age of nineteen Arthur Reginald Smith was studying at the Keighley School. His artistic talents were soon recognised, and rewarded with his working appointment within the school. The continuing college course incorporated 3 years of training, where his unmatched skills were rewarded by a travelling scholarship in Italy, guaranteeing that employment would follow. The College Principle Mr. Augustus Spencer found him the necessary teaching work at London Schools and Smith supplemented this employment by running art classes at Leighton House.

The significant commission that Smith secured to paint the interiors of Marlborough House was extremely well received by her majesty the Queen, and provoked the subsequent Royal Command to depict the interior of Buckingham Palace.  Although rewarding, these stately representations did nothing to satisfy the true appetite of A. R. Smith’s acute love of nature.

His election as an Associate of the Royal Watercolour Society was interrupted by the outbreak of war, with Smith joining the Artists Rifles. He subsequently moved back to Yorkshire where he spent the rest of his life. The Wharfedale Group emerged at this time in Threshfield and through his relationships with other artists, they formed a small colony; including the likes of Reginald Brunditt A.R.A., John Smith Atherton, Frank Horne, Cutliffe Hyne and Halliwell Sutcliffe,

It was in the countryside that the group found inspiration from the beauty of the hills. Arthur Reginald Smith was an untiring artist who work outdoors all year round; rising early to catch the shepherds in Winter, and in Summer he could often be found at 4am preparing to meet the first rays of dawn. The measures that he undertook to overcome the freezing climate included adding whisky to his paint water, and standing on corkboards in the snow, reluctant to be defeated. This approach reveals the man as a dedicated labourer of art with Smith stating that “Art is a whole job” and when I am satisfied – it’ll be a bad sign.”

His one man shows sold exceptionally well and were highly acclaimed by Galleries. In one less flourishing period, he produced illustrations with Halliwell Sutcliffe The Striking Dales, and later received a commission from the same publishers (Messrs Warne) for a reprint of W.G. Collingwoods important book The Lake Counties.

It was while painting by the Wharfe, which had remained a constant stimulant throughout his career, that he fell and tragically drowned 50 yards below where the Strid meets the Wharfe at Bolton Abboy.

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