In a newspaper publication of 5 December 1941 correspondent T E Isaac of Lytham St Annes wrote to the editor extolling the accomplishments of artists Ansdell and Landseer but noting a decline in their popularity.

Mr Isaac suggested that perhaps this was the right time to acquire such works cheaply. Benevolent purchasers might then be willing “to add to the present Collection at our Town Hall with a view to forming at some future time a collection worthy of a permanent art gallery in our midst”.

He also advocated acquiring works by local talent especially of beauty spots and historical sites in the Fylde whilst they are still there. He thought smaller pictures would be ideal as larger ones may be difficult to handle and are often relegated to cellars.

He warned of forgeries and said signatures were not always a guarantee of a work’s authenticity.

He also corresponded in 1942 with the Town Council, having visited the council’s offices to see the latest addition to the Collection, and wrote the pictures were not conveniently accessible to the general public. Indeed, he found the picture (which he doesn’t name) to be “most uninteresting and unworthy of a place in a public gallery”.

He added that the Council shouldn’t have to find storage for pictures that people don’t want and that cannot be sold at any price.

The Town Clerk replied that the Council was in a difficult position as it didn’t want to cause offence to donors, especially as some donors intimated that they may make further contributions.

Who was this man who voiced such good ideas and had such an insight of matters that resonate with us today?

Research reveals him to be Thomas Edward Isaac (1863-1946), a retired railway agent, born in West Derby, Liverpool and who resided at 3 Edward Street, Lytham St Annes. Alas, we do not know of his interest in art. Can any reader enlighten us?

Marjorie Gregson