Fine art featuring storm tossed Tynemouth to be restored to its former glory

Port of Tyne's art treasures, which hung in the office boardroom, are to be given a new lease of life by professional restorers

Paintings from the Port of Tyne boardroom are carefully taken down and wrapped by staff from Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums prior to restoration. This picture shows paintings conservator Ane (corr) Flynn preparing a painting for transportation
Paintings from the Port of Tyne boardroom are carefully taken down and wrapped by staff from Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums prior to restoration. This picture shows paintings conservator Ane (corr) Flynn preparing a painting for transportation

A port’s art treasures are to be restored.

The five paintings will be revived by Tyne &Wear Archives and Museum’s conservation team while their permanent home at Port of Tyne’s meeting rooms is undergoing renovations.

Acquired by the Port of Tyne’s predecessors, the Tyne Improvement Commission, the paintings from the Victorian era all display Tyneside maritime scenes and date from 1847.

Andrew Moffat, Port of Tyne chief executive officer, said: “Visitors always admired the small collection which reveal a glimpse into the past and the history of the river.

“They are intrinsically part of our heritage and we want to ensure that they will remain in good condition for many years to come.”

The largest and most valuable is an oil painting by John Wilson Carmichael.

A native of Newcastle, Carmichael went to sea and was later apprenticed to a shipbuilder before becoming a marine and landscape artist.

His Mouth of the Tyne painting captures the local whaling ship Lady Jane in 1847 sailing into North Shields before the piers were constructed.

Another work is by Peter Cornelis Dommersen, a Dutch painter of sea, land and riverscapes.

The painting is a view of Tynemouth Pier under construction in 1882.

Paintings from the Port of Tyne boardroom are carefully taken down and wrapped by staff from Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums prior to restoration
Paintings from the Port of Tyne boardroom are carefully taken down and wrapped by staff from Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums prior to restoration
 

A study from 1882 by Robert Watson depicts the Tyne at Elswick, showing the King’s Meadows where the Blaydon Races were held before the island was removed by dredging.

Watson was born in North Sunderland in Northumberland and was the son of the lighthouse keeper on the Farne Islands.

He was commissioned to paint what is believed to be the only study in oil from life of Grace Darling.

Completing the set are paintings by artists Frank Henry Mason and Bernard Benedict Hemy.

Hemy, painter of On The River Tyne, was born in Newcastle in 1845 and went to Australia as a boy with his family to the Ballarat gold fields. He died in South Shields in 1913.

Mouth of the Tyne (A rowing boat, sailing ships and a steamer leaving the Tyne) is by Frank Henry Mason, born in Seaton Carew in 1875.

Ana Flynn Tyne &Wear Archives and Museums painting conservator, said: “It’s a great collection and we are really delighted to be able to preserve the paintings.

“They are in reasonably good condition, with the exception of the Dommersen, which needs perhaps the most restoration to prevent further paint flaking off.”

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