A COMMUNITY group is planning to publish a book on Darwen artist James Morton.

The Friends of Darwen Library plan to launch the full-colour book on Morton and his work this spring.

Local historians and writers have contributed to the book which will run to over 50,000 words. It will contain dozens of Morton’s paintings, pastels and drawings.

Harold Heys, who is organising the project, said: “Everyone who we have approached has been very enthusiastic. I’m sure it will be well received and help to cement Morton’s reputation and stature.”

The book will cover not only Morton’s paintings but will also focus on Darwen’s growth from the mid-19th Century to the early 1970s when his lifetime’s output was sold at a major auction in Blackburn.

Meanwhile the Friends are planning also to release a third and final range of Morton prints to coincide with the launch.

Mr Heys added: “We have raised more than £1,500 from print sales over the past few months and we will have a few more on offer in the spring.”

John East, chairman of the friends, said: “The Morton book will break new ground. Darwen won't have seen anything like it.”