Lottery grant ensures Lewes paintings get a facelift

Visit of William the Fourth painting in Lewes Town Hall

The Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to provide a grant of £61,200 to Lewes Town Council for a project which has been called "Our Pictures".

The aim of the project is to make pictures that are in the Town Hall more accessible to the general public and will also deal with the cleaning and restoration of three works of art.

"The Visit of William IV", "The Protestant Reformers" and "The Battle of Lewes" have been selected for restoration because of their poor condition and because they represent some of the history and cultural heritage of Lewes. The repairs and ongoing conservation will be undertaken by the Hamilton-Kerr Institute at Cambridge University.

 

The project has the support of local art and history groups, who will be cataloging all the main works of art at the town hall. Once the restoration is complete, volunteer guides will be available to take residents on a tour of the paintings and inform them about the conservation process, along with the history behind the pictures.

The main attraction

The main painting undergoing restoration at Lewes town hall (The Visit of William IV) depicts King William IV and Queen Adelaide's visit to Lewes on October 22, 1830. It was painted in 1830 by A Archer and contains actual, rather than fiction people who lived in the area at the time.

One of the tasks of the project will be to attempt to trace living relatives of the people shown in the picture. This will be made easier by the fact that the names of the individuals was noted at the time, making their relatives significantly easier to track down.

The painting had previously hung for more than a century in the Grantham family residence, Barcombe Place. It was given to the corporation by William Ivor Grantham Esquire. The wealthy coal merchant, George Grantham (who died in 1849) bought Barcombe Place in 1839 and set about acquiring a huge area of land in the area.

Lewes heritage

Lewes Town Hall Lewes Town Hall
Image by Roger Kidd under the Creative Commons Licence

Former Mayor, Dr Mike Turner who is at the sharp end of the project has said "This is wonderful news for Lewes. The paintings are a significant part of our heritage and are in need of cleaning and restoration in order that they can be fully appreciated and conserved for the future. We are immensely grateful to the Heritage Lottery for their support in this process".

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