Canvassing Interest

A busy and involving week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

One of the notable features of our week so far is the number of objects and photographs which continue to be donated to the Centre. We are particularly grateful that people have our Collecting Policy of Yeovil and South Somerset in mind, which enhances the existing collection and saves us time re-locating items to another Museum.

The intriguing items included two paintings with an especially local provenance, but which also raised some concerns, in terms of condition.

The paintings are timely as they depict an early tank and a bi-plane. The tank and the aircraft are painted on a type of canvas, which we understand is the same canvas used by Westland Aircraft to cover aircraft wings in the First World War. This connection is enhanced when the donor informed us that they were painted by her mother, when working for Westland between 1915 and 1918. This is significant as we already have a photograph showing another member of the donor’s family in the ammunition factory at Nautilus Works, Reckleford, Yeovil.

The donor also provided a thought-provoking detail. They understand the images of the tank and the bi-plane came ‘ready-made’ as an outline already painted on the canvas and the owner then ‘coloured in’ or ‘filled in’ with the desired colour. This would explain why we have a red tank!

The condition of the paintings, particularly the one of the tank presents an issue, notably in terms of storage. The donor’s mother nailed the canvas to a simple wooden frame to aid display. However, the canvas has become loose and is falling off the frame and the frame itself is now just about holding together. Due to the provenance, we would consider bringing these items into the main collection, but due to the condition, we are seeking specialist conservation advice. We will let you know the outcome!

The “Celebrating Yeovil” 2017 Calendar continues to do well!

The paintings on a type of canvas used to cover aircraft wings manufactured by Westland Aircraft in Yeovil. Can anyone tell us more?

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