The Mayor of Lewes Dr Michael Turner is hoping to secure £90,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore historic paintings in the town hall and make them more accessible to the public.
A website and catalogue with information about the paintings and interpretations of them will be created by Sussex Downs College students and members of the University of the Third Age in Lewes.
Greater access to the paintings will be given by organising regular tours with volunteer guides.
Dr Turner said: “As Mayor of Lewes I have been told by visitors to the town hall that the condition of some of our pictures is poor and that we should have them restored and conserved as they represent an important part of our heritage.
“We are rightly proud of our status as one of the most beautiful historic market towns in England and have many visitors from around the world.
“The aim of the project is to make the pictures in Lewes Town Hall more accessible and to make connections with our heritage through reconnecting local citizens with the people in the picture.”
University of the Third Age members will be invited to help research the paintings and to act as volunteer stewards.
The Visit of William IV to Lewes in 1830 is the key picture which needs urgent attention to preserve it.
Judy Brent and Dr Colin Brent, of Sussex Archaeological Society, have been working on researching the people in the picture and local councillors who are also historians, Dr Graham Mayhew and Michael Chartier, will be involved.
Dr Turner said he was looking for help to trace descendants of local people in the painting.
Pictures in the tour will include the portraits of the Wimbles, the Battle of Lewes paintings, the sailing ships and the Duke and Duchess of Newcastle.
There is also a picture of the Protestant Non Conformers.
Visitors will be able to see the heritage paintings in a restored condition with interpretation notes in printed and digital forms.
The catalogue will give more detail with quotations from descendants’ memories.
An education pack will be produced which will include art trails and quizzes for a range of age groups.
Anybody interested in helping with the project should email the mayor firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also write to him care of Lewes Town Hall.
King William IV and Queen Adelaide visited Lewes on October 22, 1830. The painting which hangs in Lewes Town Hall was painted by A Archer.
It hung for more than a century in the Grantham family residence, Barcombe Place.
It was given to the corporation by William Ivor Grantham Esquire.
It portrays people who lived in Lewes at the time, some of whose descendants are in the area today.
George Grantham (1782-1849), a coal-merchant, purchased Barcombe Place in 1839 and built up an extensive landed estate.