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Oil painting home after 60 years
2:10pm Thursday 24th May 2012 in News
AN enormous oil on canvas painting that returned to a local heritage spot after a 60-year absence is undergoing vital conservation work.
Called The Great Horse or Jack-a-Dandy, the 14ft by 8ft picture was painted between 1680 and 1710, possibly by the notable equestrian artist John Wootton, and hung in Croome Court, near Upton, for almost 250 years.
It returned to the property last May thanks to a long-term loan from The Coventry Charity, in whose Droitwich premises it had been hanging since 1948.
The conservation work is taking place in public at the National Trust property and conservation officer Lucy Hadley said: “This has been a fantastic chance for people to get up close to the restoration of a work of art and our visitors have really enjoyed seeing the project progress and chatting to the specialist painting conservator and her team of students from the Courtauld Institute of Art as they work.
“So far the painting has had its surface cleaned, which has really brightened the colours and has brought it back to life. Our volunteers who see the painting every day can see such a difference, but there’s more work still to be carried out.”
The painting allegedly commemorates a bet made on a horse race between Sir Henry Coventry, the then owner of Croome Court, and his brother-inlaw Sir John Packington.
The story goes that the loser of the bet was to build Almshouses in Droitwich in honour of the winner, resulting in Sir John founding the Coventry Charity Almshouses in Droitwich in the name of Sir Henry Coventry.