Dorset County Museum sign
Museum acquires major art works
After 12 months of fund raising The Dorset County Museum in Dorchester has acquired three paintings by the famous 18th century English portrait painter George Romney.
Mrs Thomas Rackett, c1734-1800
Three paintings by the famous 18th century English portrait painter George Romney, whose work is as highly regarded as his contemporaries Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough, have been put on display at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester.
Romney, who was born in Lancashire, is an ancestor of US politician and former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The pictures of the Rackett family include Thomas Rackett the younger (1756-1840) who was Rector of Spetisbury (near Blandford Forum) for 59 years.
Judy Lindsay Director Dorset County Muse
He was a keen antiquarian, naturalist and numismatist and the portraits are acknowledged as being of national importance and of special interest to the county of Dorset, due Rackett the younger's position in Dorset society.
The museum which has raised over £279,000 through fund raising and grants from The Art Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund means that not only have the paintings been saved for the people of Dorset, but that the museum can undertake a full programme of related events and exhibitions over the coming year.
Thomas Rackett the Younger, 1756-1840
Museum Director Judy Lindsay said: "Acquiring these paintings has been the biggest project during my time at the museum".
The Reverend Rackett was a friend of the high profile actor/manager David Garrick and the playwright Sheridan and Reverend Rackett's collections formed a major contribution towards the formation of the Dorset County Museum in 1846, six years after his death.
The fact that his portrait and that of his parents now take pride of place in the Dorset County Museum is a fitting tribute to a man who himself had a love of the arts and natural history.
Thomas Rackett the Elder c1738-1799
The portraits are on display at the Dorset County Museum, High West Street, Dorchester daily from 10am until 5pm.
last updated: 18/04/2008 at 10:18