The PCF has worked with a wide variety of institutions throughout the UK, from collections in bustling, busy cities to peaceful, rural locations in the heart of the countryside. As the manager of the PCF’s large team of Coordinators, I have visited many of these locations and have travelled the same amount of miles as it takes to circumnavigate the earth, not once, but twice!
The PCF’s most northerly destination was the island of Unst, the northernmost of the Shetland Islands and the location, Unst Heritage Centre. The centre is managed by Unst Heritage Trust and they hold just two oil paintings, both portraits, of Reverend James Ingram (1776–1879) and his wife Mary Barclay Ingram (1776–1859).
Reverend James Ingram (1776-1879), Free Church Minister (1843-1879) (unknown artist, Collection: Unst Heritage Trust)
Travel 1,000 miles south from Unst and we reach our most southerly collection, which is not strictly in the UK. The Channel Islands, like the Isle of Man, are crown dependencies, with their own government and money. Jersey is the most southerly of the Channel Islands, lying just 14 miles west of the coast of France. On a rocky islet in St Aubin's Bay stands Elizabeth Castle.
Elizabeth Castle, managed by Jersey Heritage, is accessible at low tide by foot or by the castle ferry. A small number of Jersey Heritage’s paintings are on display in the castle, mainly military portraits, including that of General Don (1756–1832), who was Governor of Jersey from 1806 to 1814.
Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Museum, catalogued by our Suffolk Coordinator, Alan Grundy, is located close to Ness Point, officially the most easterly point in the UK. The Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Society was established in 1958, and the volunteer-run museum opened in 1968.
Unsurprisingly, its art collection mainly consists of paintings of ships at sea and scenes associated with maritime life, including a dramatic work by Rowland Fisher (1885–1969) of the trawler 'Trinidad' LT210 battling through stormy seas.
Five hundred miles west of Lowestoft, in Northern Ireland, is Fermanagh County Museum. Housed within Enniskillen Castle, beside the River Erne, the museum is our most westerly collection. The County Museum holds a large collection on artefacts relating to the history, culture and environment of Fermanagh, including a collection of oil paintings, catalogued by our Northern Ireland Coordinator, Alison Mitchelson.
The museum’s paintings include works by the artist Terence Philip Flanagan (1929–2011) who was born and raised in Enniskillen.
These four museums, at the geographical extremes of the UK, are typical of most of the collections we have worked with throughout the project. Their art collections relate to the people and places of the locality and document the history, geography and culture of our islands.
You can read the full feature on the PCF's website.
Katey Goodwin is Head of Research and Digitisation for the PCF