Harry was born on Market Street in Denton in 1903 and grew up surrounded by art; his father, William, founded the Hyde Art Group with his colleagues. Soon, Harry was taking Saturday morning lessons at the Hyde School of Art, and after leaving school at the age of 14, he continued his education by attending evening classes at Manchester School of Art, where he shared a classroom with fellow student L.S. Lowry.
Harry was an accomplished artist by the age of 22, but he wanted to study more, so when he heard that famous and eccentric artist Walter Sickert was establishing a class in Manchester, he was the first – and youngest – to join up.
Harry was subsequently hired as the Head Artist at a Manchester Advertising Agency, where he created topical cartoons for the Manchester Evening News, but an opportunity came for him to go to Cornwall, where he could dedicate more time to painting and teach. Harry couldn’t say no.
He was also able to create his style, which was different from that of his master, Sickert. He submitted his painting ‘Penzance’ to the Royal Academy in 1930, and it was approved for their summer exhibition. Harry had come as an artist, with commissions from the Duke of Devonshire.
Harry joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) at the beginning of WWII when he was hired to paint the sky in minute detail to aid with camouflage training.
Along with his war job, Harry continued to paint, but unfortunately, most of it was lost when his studio was bombed.
In times of peace, Harry returned to the screens with a new approach to his accent.
After returning to ‘Cabaret Cartoons,’ he was given his own children’s television program, ‘Sketchbook.’
Harry pioneered the concept of art being produced live on television much before Rolf Harris and Tony Hart. The series lasted for six years, with Harry pioneering the idea of art being created live on television long before Rolf Harris and Tony Hart.
He returned to Hyde after finishing his series, accepting a teaching post at Manchester’s Regional College of Art. Apart from a short visit to Borneo at the governor’s request in 1957, when he became the first Western artist to show in the nation, Harry spent the remainder of his life in Hyde.
He was elected President of the Manchester Academy in 1961 and served for eight years, all the while painting in his studio.
That studio was on Nelson Street in Hyde, next to the Rutherford family home where he had grown up and now shared with his brother Donald and cat Sugden.
After a period of illness, Harry died in 1985, leaving behind a legacy of great paintings, many of which depicted local scenery, as well as a collection of amazing memories for everyone who knew the lively, funny, and brilliant guy.