In common with many local museums, Mansfield has an eclectic collection of oil paintings. Acquired over the last century, the paintings range from formal portraits to more naturalistic landscapes, as well as animal studies and still lifes. Numbering some 60 works, they form an important, though minor, part of our collection, which is dominated by the watercolours of Albert Sorby Buxton.
The most recent acquisition is a contemporary representation of an iconic local haberdashery, known affectionately as Sally Twinkles. Painted by local artist, Julian Bray, it attracted a lot of attention whilst on display in an exhibition of work by Mansfield painters. As the Museum’s collecting policy focuses on items of local interest and manufacture, this painting seemed a natural addition to the Collection.
The larger, older paintings came to the Museum by way of Mansfield District Council who had displayed them in their former offices at Carr Bank Park. On moving to a purpose-built Civic Centre in 1987 the Council transferred the paintings to the Museum. Of particular note are three examples of the work of Wright Barker who exhibited from 1891 to 1938 at the Royal Academy and who was resident for a time in Mansfield. Of the others it is unfortunate that the Museum has little information about the imposing sitter of A Lady in a Black Dress painted by an unknown artist, about whose prestigious local lineage we can only speculate.
Amongst other notable acquisitions are three examples of the work of Hector McDonald Sutton. Born in 1903, this portrait painter and innovator was always looking at new techniques and styles and helped push back the boundaries of Modernism. Before his death in the early 1990s the Museum was fortunate to receive two separate gifts of his work to add to King John’s Palace, Clipstone, Nottinghamshire, which had been in the Museum’s collection a number of years. Again, the local connection is evident in the fact that Sutton was for many years President of the Mansfield Society of Artists, as well as being the Principal of the College of Art and Art Advisor for the County.
At present virtually all the oil paintings are in storage and therefore we are grateful to the Public Catalogue Foundation for the inclusion of our paintings in this publication, which offers the possibility of bringing them to the attention of a wider audience.
Liz Weston, Curator
Text source: PCF / Mansfield District Council
This description was originally written for a catalogue.