Published: 15/03/2018
ISBN: 9781788037778
Format: Hardback



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Joseph Pike
The Happy Catholic Artist
by James Downs

First biography of the remarkable and hugely admired artist, Joseph Pike.

Author aided by artist’s family including his grandson, Hugh Salmon, (founder of www.Lovereading.co.uk), giving access to personal details and illustrations.


The first of its kind, Joseph Pike: The Happy Catholic Artist is a detailed biography of the popular artist of the same name. A master of the art of pencil drawing, Pike produced evocative sketches and illustrations that were commissioned by authors, architects and publishers, reproduced in books and on postcards, sold as prints and even exhibited on the walls of the Royal Academy. When he died in 1956, the Catholic Herald referred to him as ‘a distinguished artist’, though until this biography, little has been written about his life and work. Aided by the artist’s family, the book also contains rare personal details and illustrations not found elsewhere.

Joseph Pike reveals the man behind the art, following the artist’s life and career through the decades and exploring how both were shaped by historical circumstances - such as two world wars - and developments in the publishing world and printing technology. The book also explores his devout Catholic side and how his religious life and contacts with leading figures in Catholic cultural life such as Ronald Knox affected his career. The author is able to write about this subject with accuracy and vivid insights, drawing on a decade of personal experience of monastic life.

As the renowned journalist Raymond Sawkins (who published many books under the pen name Colin Forbes) said, Joseph Pike was ‘an artist of unusual merit... Pike has recorded with outstanding ability the architecture of all periods which exists in contemporary Britain.’ The biography will appeal to readers interested in art and history, as well as those with an interest in Catholic religion and culture.

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