Exhibitions & Publications
Pigs Must Eat on Sundays
Published by Green Books
Hardback 160 pages in full colour
ISBN 1 903998 68 9
Ben Hartley kept notebooks all his life. They were bequeathed to Bernard Samuels in 1996. There are many links between the notebooks and the painting, a topic covered in Ben Hartley, his monograph of the artist's life and work.
There are some 320 notebooks in the collection, covering forty years of the artist's life. They are full of delightful drawings. They also give a picture of the artistic and spiritual development of Ben Hartley, his progress from post-war British Neo-Romanticism to his out and out commitment to the paramount importance of colour, as well as his conversion to Roman Catholicism.
Pigs Must Eat on Sundays presents just two years, 1964 and 1965, when Ben Hartley had settled in Devon as a part-time lecturer at Plymouth College of Art, living in the village of Ermington in the South Hams. The notebooks, which previously had been simply sketchbooks, have now taken on the character of illustrated diaries. They show Ben Hartley's love of humour; the subject matter, as always, country life, the local farmers, their animals and his neighbours' pets.
Ben Hartley read a great deal of poetry. The drawings are often accompanied by his own brief poetic descriptions, which is one of the great joys of the book. Much of the book is taken up by the journeys he made during the College vacation times. In the summer of 1964 he makes a tour of the East Riding, recorded with numerous comic observations. The book ends with a rather surprising episode in which he leaves Devon to spend four months in Norfolk, attached to the parish of North Repps. His account of this period is especially charming in its observation of the rector's children.
At the end of his stay in Norfolk he returned to Devon to resume his life in Ermington.
The book consists almost entirely of pages from the notebooks in colour, preceded by a brief introduction by Bernard Samuels.