Trust displays its original paintings

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Helensburgh-Pier-c.1840-Unknown-artistTHE annual exhibition of paintings from the Anderson Trust Local Collection is now on display in Helensburgh Library in West King Street.

It is thirty years since this collection was bequeathed to Helensburgh by Annie (Nance) Templeton Anderson MBE and a Trust established to manage it.

To mark the occasion, the Trustees decided to show all the 34 paintings in the original bequest together.

Anybody’s personal collection has an interest for the public which extends beyond the individual art works it contains. One is invited to speculate about the collector and about what prompted her choice.

W.Simpson-Helensburgh-1848Fortunately, Nance Anderson’s family are able to satisfy our curiosity to some extent. Readers will have an opportunity of learning more in a future article about the interests, talents and generosity of this remarkable local family.

The theme that was apparent in Nance Anderson’s collection and which the Trustees have tried to bear in mind when adding to it, is its local emphasis.

All the works are in some way associated with Helensburgh and the surrounding area – by subject matter or by artists who lived or worked here.

Gregor-Ian-Smith--Old-Parish-Church-Helensburgh-1954Since the unique landscape of this area has attracted artists for many years, it is not surprising to find in the collection works by artists who have since become famous on a much wider scale – Sir James Guthrie, William Leighton Leitch, Sir William Russell Flint, Norah Neilson Gray, to name but a few.

Many of the paintings on view in the current exhibition are of well-loved local views and landmarks that distinguish the town and continue to attract people to visit or settle here.

After viewing the examples here, we hope that readers will feel inspired to visit the exhibition in the Library.

It is reassuring to see that, despite understandable changes over two centuries, the unique architectural and landscape features of this town are still recognisable today.

22--Gregor-Ian-Smith-wChanges will continue to shape the town as it needs to adapt to changing economic, social and climatic conditions.

But, at this time, when the town is facing re-development plans that will fundamentally change its character, these paintings may cause us to reflect on how best we can retain what is good about the place and how to improve it.

  • Mary-Jane Selwood is a Trustee of the Anderson Local Collection Trust.