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Forres Heritage launches appeal for funding to restore paintings of historic local scenes by Thomas Cranmer

By Garry McCartney

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Alex Ross of Forres Heritage Trust alongside the paintings they are looking to restore. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Alex Ross of Forres Heritage Trust alongside the paintings they are looking to restore. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

A CHARITY is calling for help to restore two monumental paintings hung in a town centre building depicting historic local scenes.

Forres Heritage Trust (FHT) needs £20,000 to revive ‘The Tournament’ and ‘The Riding of the Marches’ - both painted in 1841 by Thomas Cranmer - which hang for public viewing in the Tolbooth Courtroom.

FHT volunteer Alex Ross confirmed it is seeking support from a number of funding bodies but hopes individuals will contribute too.

The Tournament by Charles Cranmer.
The Tournament by Charles Cranmer.

He said: “The restoration work must be undertaken by a registered member of the Institute of Conservation.

“These paintings are a significant part of the heritage of Forres and are integral to the Tolbooth.

“The Riding of the Marches shows Forres Town Council on October 1, 1840, ceremonially checking the town’s boundaries.

“The Tournament depicts a scene in Sir Thomas Dick Lauder’s book ‘The Wolf of Badenoch’ during the reign of Robert II (1371 - 1390). King Robert’s son-in-law, the Earl of Moray, held a tourney at St John’s Mead on the banks of the River Findhorn close to Darnaway Castle, the home to this day of John Stuart, 21st Earl of Moray.”

The Riding of the Marches by Charles Cranmer.
The Riding of the Marches by Charles Cranmer.

Due to the paintings’ historical significance, the trust feels it is vital to undertake the work to the highest standard possible.

Mr Ross said: “It is our duty to have them restored and conserved for future generations.

“Their present condition is not as vibrant as it should be, suffering from nicotine, condensation and temperature changes during years of meetings within the building by the former Forres Town Council and others.”

FHT has received quotes from accredited restorers who visited the Tolbooth to inspect the paintings.

“We just need to get the funding to make the project happen,” said Mr Ross. “There is an expectation from some of the funders that we do a certain amount of fundraising so we are urging the people of Forres, past and present to get involved.”

Since taking over ownership of the Tolbooth 10 years ago following a community asset transfer from Moray Council, FHT volunteers have restored and refurbished the building. It is now a popular community venue for meetings and exhibitions, lectures and recitals.

The trust also stages its own events including popular winter talks and guided tours of the building in the spring and summer.

To make a donation to the restoration project visit: www.justgiving.com/forres-heritage

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