Following the successful conservation of Hebe and Amphitrite, the statues which grace the foyer of the Town Hall at St Annes, the Friends have now turned their sights towards raising funds for the conservation of Richard Ansdell’s Startled Deer, pictured above. The total cost of work on this painting is £3,900.
Barbara Weston, our committee member for Publicity and Fund Raising, has recently been successful in obtaining £500 funding from the Mary Cecily Wood Charitable Trust and we are most grateful for this grant.
This oil painting, size 71 x 48 inches (180.34 x 121.92 cm), was donated by Alderman and Mrs J H Dawson in December 1936 and was for some years displayed in the main reception room at the Town Hall.
Those members and friends who joined us on a visit to the Conservation Studios in Preston on the afternoon of 22 January were able to see this important painting with its frame already removed, so that Philip Bourne, a conservator well-known to us, could see what needed to be done. It had a small tear and needed cleaning. He had cleaned a small area for us to see how it revealed a fabulous blue sky.
Sarah Kellam, Ansdell’s great great granddaughter, and an authority on his paintings, writes: This is one of Ansdell’s Highland scenes and is unusual in that the shepherd and his flock is secondary to the composition – he has been forfeited for Ansdell to make way for a beautiful depiction of a Fallow Deer doe and her young buck (please note that not all Fallow Deer have the characteristic white spots on their rumps and it also depends on the time of year). It is also interesting to note that Ansdell has chosen to depict Fallow Deer and not the usual Red Deer that we associate with Scotland – I think this is deliberate to attract a sympathetic eye in that Fallow Deer are prettier and more vulnerable.
This is one of a crop of paintings of deer which, for a time, fascinated Ansdell (here is another example).