British artist Peace Sykes produced an array of luscious landscapes in oil and watercolour. His works often depict the countryside outside of his hometown of Huddersfield, capturing it at all times of the year.
Crisp leaves and rough bark give an impression of a weary weight to nature in his autumnal scenes. Meanwhile his summer spectacles are rich in colour and life, trees standing boldly by bodies of water reflecting the crystalline, cerulean sky.
Sykes also depicts scenes of rural life, such as a busy market scene, and some interior work of churches. Within Huddersfield, Sykes was an artistic stalwart. Having studied art himself at Leeds College, Sykes translated his lessons to the young boys who attended the Mechanics’ Institute. The Institute was established to give the young men of Huddersfield a formative education, and it seems Sykes’ teachings paid off.
A former pupil, Charles France, would exhibit at the Royal Academy. Another, Stephen E Hogley, would exhibit in the royal institutes in London as well as following in his teacher’s footsteps by becoming an art teacher at the Mechanics’ Institute in Holmfirth. Sykes was also the founder of the Huddersfield Art Society, which continues to this day.
Clearly, he was a man with a deep passion for art and he was determined to spread this love to as many people as possible. His passion became philanthropy.
As much as he was a stalwart in the Huddersfield art scene, Sykes also exhibited some of his works further afield in the major galleries of London, such as the Royal Academy. Sykes roots, however, were firmly in Huddersfield, and he would die there after a long and prosperous career.
His artistic endeavours were carried on by his sons, George and Henry. George would take over as art teacher at the Mechanics’ Institute.
Born in Netherton, Huddersfield.
Exhibited with the Royal Academy, New Watercolour Society, and Suffolk Street Galleries.
Founded the Huddersfield Art Society.
Died in Grimscar, Huddersfield. Buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard, South Crosland, Huddersfield.