Surprise donation pays for Dudley Museum restoration of landscape master's works

Stourbridge News: Sir Alfred East's painting A Native Scene Sir Alfred East's painting A Native Scene

BOROUGH art experts are celebrating a surprise donation for a trio of paintings by a leading British landscape artist.

Dudley Museum and Art Gallery’s collection includes 15 pieces by Sir Alfred East and three paintings are now being restored after a grant from the estate of Henry Johnson, a grandson of the artist.

Sir Alfred, who died in 1913, was best-known for painting scenes from his homeland but he was also influenced by French impressionism and a period of working in Japan in 1889.

John Millar, Dudley Council director of the urban environment, said: “This donation by the estate of Henry Johnson has been an unexpected surprise and we are really grateful for the opportunity to restore these paintings which were critically acclaimed in their day.

“I look forward to seeing the restored pictures once they return to the Dudley collection for public view.”

Two of the pictures being restored are from Sir Alfred’s Japanese period, Boats on a Beach shows Japanese boats and a stamp bearing the artist’s name on in Japanese characters, spelt phonetically.

The other Japanese-period picture, A Native Scene, shows figures under a bell tower and is believed to be set in Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was known in Sir Alfred’s time.

Both works are watercolours and restoration will lift colours and remove dark brown blotches which appear on the surface of the paper with age - deterioration which is referred to as foxing.

The third painting to be restored is a monochrome print of a country lane with a cottage. All three pieces are expected to go on display later in the year.

Sir Alfred, who was born in Northamptonshire, served as president of the Royal Society of British Artists and awarded a Knighthood in 1910.

Dudley Museum and Art Gallery on St James’ Road, Dudley, is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. Admission is free.

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