Repair of ‘oldest’ painting

Gillian Turner and the painting of Morpeth that hangs in the Mayor's Parlour at the Town Hall.'Picture by Jane Coltman
Gillian Turner and the painting of Morpeth that hangs in the Mayor's Parlour at the Town Hall.'Picture by Jane Coltman
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The oldest known painting of Morpeth has been placed in the care of experts for specialist restoration.

The landscape is thought to date back to around 1760 and shows a view looking across the town.

Gillian Turner and the painting of Morpeth that hangs in the Mayor's Parlour at the Town Hall.'Picture by Jane Coltman

Gillian Turner and the painting of Morpeth that hangs in the Mayor's Parlour at the Town Hall.'Picture by Jane Coltman

It has been hanging in pride of place in the Council Chamber in Morpeth Town Hall, directly facing the Chairman’s seat.

But now it will be taken away for repair after Morpeth Town Council’s Property and Asset Management Committee agreed to set aside £5,000 for the work.

Chairman Andrew Tebbutt said: “We have a report that shows that this painting is in a very precarious state, which doesn’t surprise any of us.

“The painting will be away for some time while this restoration and preservation work is carried out, but we have to have this done.

We are custodians of these paintings for future generations.

Gillian Turner, Morpeth Town Council Clerk

“If it has survived from 1760 to 2015 I wouldn’t want to be responsible for it disappearing. The work is expensive, but it is a no-brainer.”

Town council Clerk Gillian Turner said: “It is the oldest painting of Morpeth that we know of, but you can see the damage even with the eye. You can see the bubbling in the paint, it is ready to fall off.

“We do have a repairs and maintenance budget of £14,000 so it is covered.

“We are custodians of these paintings for future generations.”

The committee voted to go ahead with the work unanimously.

Coun Ron Forster said: “I think people in Morpeth are interested enough in their history to see that this ought to be preserved.”

Restoration work will also be carried out to a painting in the Mayor’s Parlour, but it is not in such a poor condition as it has had work done to it previously. It will be taken away to be stretched and given a proper backing.

An image of the Princess Royal among the town treasures has already been restored, and threw up some surprises.

“We thought it was on paper, but it was silk,” said Ms Turner.

“There was cellotape keeping it together, but that has been removed. It now has a proper backing so it is held safe and secure.”