Harris Museum achieves fundraising success thanks to local charity

24 November 2015

Preston’s famous Harris Museum & Art Gallery has won financial support from a locally-based charity to help bring a 194-year old work of art back to life.

Art Aid has donated £1,000 to help conserve the painting, ‘View of Preston from Penwortham Hill’ which was painted by artist John Jenkinson in 1821.  Without specialist treatment the painting will decay and the image will be lost forever.

The oil on canvas work is currently housed in the Harris Museum’s art store awaiting conservation, but curators are now optimistic that it will be back on display in 2016.

The painting shows a sunny harvest scene in the foreground while across the River Ribble and Penwortham Bridge looms the onset of industrial Preston, with its rapidly expanding streets of houses and mills. It is a unique historic view of Preston as a new industrial city with countryside all around, including sights we would recognise today like St. John’s Minster and Avenham Colonnade.

Greta Krypczyk-Oddy, Chair of the Friends of the Harris, the charity which led the fundraising campaign, said: “We are indebted to Art Aid for this show of support, particularly as the gift has been raised through the sale of donated art at charity exhibitions.  Following a very successful public donations campaign it means that we can now go ahead with conservation work so that the painting back on show next year.”

Conservators at Lancashire County Museums Conservation Studio are on standby to give the painting the special care it desperately needs.  They will:
• remove discoloured varnish, old retouching and overpaint
• patch damage with synthetic fabric and adhesive, and strip line edges
• fill and in-paint areas of paint loss and then re-varnish the painting
• provide a new frame backing board and non-reflective lightweight glazing

Cllr Veronica Afrin, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure at Preston City Council, which owns and manages the museum said: “We are delighted and grateful that Art Aid have been able to provide the final funding the museum needs to go ahead with the conservation of this important work of art and would also like to thank all the members of the public who donated.  Once on show it will be seen by hundreds of thousands of local people and visitors to Preston, telling the important story of Preston’s industrial development, including for school children and other community groups.”

Art Aid is based in Longridge and was established last year to assist charities and worthy causes home and aboard to increase awareness through holding art exhibitions across the UK.
Art Aid Trustee, Paul Smith, says, “We have already supported many local causes like Derian House Children’s Hospice and Furniture for Education Worldwide and it is great to be able to help the Harris Museum & Art Gallery in their invaluable work.”

Picture Caption:

Paul Smith (Art Aid) presents the £1,000 cheque to Greta Krypczyk-Oddy (Friends of the Harris), watched by (far left) Alex Walker (Harris Museum) and Tony Peers (Art Aid).

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