The Anderson Trust Art Collection

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nance-anderson-as-bailie-w.jpgTHE Anderson Trust was established in 1980 on the death of Miss A.T.Anderson MBE to manage her bequest to the town of her private collection of paintings.

Annie Templeton Anderson (1889-1980), known to all as Nance, was born and lived all her life in Helensburgh where her father had been Provost.

She was a Town Councillor for ten years (she is pictured right in her robes as Helensburgh's first woman Bailie) and thereafter a member of the Hospital Board. During the war she was County Organiser for the WVS.

She had been a teacher at St Bride's School and a keen Guider, starting the first Brownie Pack in Helensburgh.

Her aunts and uncles, the Templetons (eight of them), lived in Drumgarve in John Street and, on the death of the last of them, Miss Anderson and her brothers and sisters gave Drumgarve to the Town for a Public Library. She took a keen interest in the Templeton Library for the rest of her life.

She was a person of wide culture. Between the wars she produced regularly for the Helensburgh Dramatic Society — W.H.Auden and C.Day Lewis, both teachers at Larchfield School, featuring in her casts — and she was Honorary President of the Helensburgh and District Art Club, and an enthusiastic supporter of the club for many years.

Before she died, she expressed the wish that her notable collection of pictures of Helensburgh and District, many of which had been regularly exhibited during her lifetime, should be kept for Helensburgh.

On her death, her nephews, the late  William F.T.Anderson (pictured below) and Dr John C.Anderson, fulfilled this wish by establishing a Trust to ensure that the paintings were kept together and displayed to the local community as soon as possible.

A small capital fund was later established which has enabled the Trustees to maintain the Collection properly and to augment it with works that comply with the spirit of the bequest.

The original collection bill-anderson-wcomprised 34 paintings, all of which are associated with the area, either by artist or subject matter. Thanks to generous gifts of works from private donors, and some new purchases, the collection is continuing to grow and currently numbers 77 works.

In 1998 the Anderson Collection was given a permanent home in the new Helensburgh Library, in West King Street, and, with the co-operation of Argyll & Bute Library and Museum Services, the Trust is able to display a selection of paintings from the Collection, for six months every year, in the Upper Gallery of the Library.

Nance was a close friend of local artist Gregor Ian Smith, and his painting of a Weeping Ash tree in the garden of her final home, Inistore in James Street, is part of the collection. Gregor Ian also drew a caricature of her, which be seen in the Photo Gallery on this website.

Over the years, visitors to the Anderson Trust exhibitions have asked whether reproductions of any of the paintings were available in card form.

Now the Trust has printed three images from the collection and they are on sale as greetings cards at The Scandinavian Shop in Sinclair Street, Helensburgh. They are: "View from the Long Croft" by Viola Paterson, "Clyde Regatta" by Arthur H. Turner, and "View from the Golf Links" by John Young Hunter.

The Trust's latest exhibition in Helensburgh Library, open to the public from January 17 2009 until the end of June, is a collaboration with Helensburgh Photographic Club.

The Trust is exhibiting 28 of its collection of paintings, prints and etchings, hung alongside recent photographs or photographic interpretations of the places represented in the paintings.

  • The photo of Bill Anderson is by courtesy of Helensburgh freelance photographer Petra Boyce.