Lewes local history protected with restoration grant

Dr Mike Turner and Rupert Featherstone pictured in front of 'The Visit'
Dr Mike Turner and Rupert Featherstone pictured in front of 'The Visit'

Lewes Town Council has won a grant of £61,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting project called ‘Our Pictures’.

Led by former Mayor, Dr Mike Turner, and with the support of several local groups and societies, the project will make the pictures in the town hall more accessible to everyone.

It will focus on the restoration and cleaning of three significant paintings: ‘The Visit of William IV’, ‘The Protestant Reformers’ and ‘The Battle of Lewes’.

These have been chosen for restoration because of their poor state of repair and the fact they relate specifically to important historic events that have helped shape the cultural identity of Lewes.

Local art and history groups will be involved and a catalogue will be produced of all the significant works of art in the Town Hall.

Guides will be trained to show visitors the paintings and local people and students will be able to learn about the collection and art conservation through workshops and educational visits, while volunteers can get involved with research on the collection or the development of education packs and guided tours.

The very large Visit of William IV painting depicts Lewes citizens who attended the royal visit in October 1830 and, unusually, an index of their names was produced.

The project will attempt to trace connections to any descendants who may live in the area in the present day.

Conservation and repairs will be carried out by the Hamilton-Kerr Institute at Cambridge University and students will be invited to visit the Institute’s workshops to observe some of this work first-hand.

Mike Turner 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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