Museum Highlight

Harold James Yates

As the summer faded in September 2019 our Museum Highlight looked at this painting of local historical interest, showing the Post Office in Arborfield bathed in sunshine. [Highlighted: Sep 2019]

Arborfield Post Office
by Harold James Yates (1878–1959)

Oil on canvas
58cm x 51cm

RGA member 1930–1934
Was on the RGA Council 1930–1932

Reading Museum Accession Number
REDMG : 1998.11.1

This oil painting of the Arborfield Post Office was exhibited at the Reading Guild of Artists 4th Exhibition, Reading Art Gallery Nov 1st – 30th 1933. The Arborfield Local History Society have done considerable research into the Old Post Office, and they report that the building is thought to be late 15th or early 16th century. It was the home of the Mattingley family for over 200 years, becoming a post office in the late 1800s until the last Mattingley retired in 1968 and the post office moved from this location.

Harold J Yates was a lecturer in drawing and painting in the art department under Allen Seaby at Reading University, from 1923 until 1943. He exhibited at the first five Reading Guild of Artists exhibitions, 1930–1934, serving on the Guild’s original council. At the time he lived in Shinfield, which is not far from Arborfield. He was described as an artist of some calibre, and his work was often picked out for special mention by reviewers of the exhibitions. He had an exhibition at the Reading Art Gallery in 1928 exhibiting 64 paintings, mainly watercolours but also some oils.

He is not to be confused with an artist of the same name Harold Yates (1916–2001).

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