Published: 06/04/2014 13:00 - Updated: 04/04/2014 12:07

Historic Burghead harbour painting rescued

Written byCraig Christie

A MUCH-loved painting of a Moray harbour which possibly dates back nearly two centuries has been rescued for posterity.

Heldon and Laich councillor Chris Tuke (left), Billy Lyons and Dan Ralph admire a print of a restored oil painting of Burghead harbour which is now on sale in the village. Picture by Eric Cormack. NS Image no 025044
Heldon and Laich councillor Chris Tuke (left), Billy Lyons and Dan Ralph admire a print of a restored oil painting of Burghead harbour which is now on sale in the village. Picture by Eric Cormack. NS Image no 025044

And the view of Burghead looking back from the sea has been recreated in a set of art prints of the original painting, now available for sale in the village.

Local resident Janet Glendinning contacted art experts in Edinburgh when she discovered the painting, believed to date from around 1830 –1850, had fallen into a state of disrepair.

Restoration to its former glory was impossible, with shattered glass covering the painting sticking into its surface. But an idea was raised to retouch the artwork and repair severely damaged areas, before being photographed and placed on digital file.

Mrs Glendinning said the resultant prints, in the actual size of the original, are being sold at The Bothy bistro and village post office.

The original is owned by Moray Council and has been lovingly restored with the aim of preserving it for the next 200 years and beyond.

“We think we have saved an important part of Burghead’s heritage for many to enjoy into the future,” she said.

“The damaged image was painstakingly retouched with an end result which is amazing.”

Fears were raised that the painting was beyond repair when Jane Hutchison, conservator at Bourne Frames and Conservation in Edinburgh who was consulted by Mrs Glendinning, said it could not be restored in a conventional way.

Instead it was digitally retouched using the wonders of modern technology, before the firm’s specialist photographer John McKensie captured it on file to be sent to printers in Glasgow.

Now the prints are on sale at £20 each, including postal tube, and proving popular both with residents and Burghead exiles.

“It has been touch and go but luckily we have had an inspired team of helpers who have won through, despite many a set back.”

She said well-known former Burghead fisherman, Billy Lyons, has been central to the process of getting the painting saved and reproduced, with the approval of the council.

‘Clavie King’ Dan Ralph and his family have also assisted the project, along with other community figures.

Mrs Glendinning said the proceeds of the sale will firstly refund the enthusiasts who put up the money for the restoration and printing costs. Thereafter any cash raised will go to the village’s Sellar Street Hall Committee to assist with the running costs and general maintenance of the building.

She added that the sale of the prints comes at a time when Burghead is planning a two-day Harbour Festival on July 5 and 6.

As part of the events planned, the village’s restored sailing drifter, the Reaper, will be moored in the harbour and become the centre of attraction for the public, while musicians will provide entertainment from the drifter’s deck.

Anyone interested in buying a print of the famous Burghead scene can contact Mrs Glendinning or her husband Patrick on 01343 830932.

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