Barrow archive puts focus on Furness art

3 January 2017 5:31PM

THE Cumbria Archive and Local Studies Centre at Barrow’s Ramsden Square public library is best known for its maps, photographs and original documents but also has holdings of work by Furness artists.

A display featuring some of these drawings, sketches and watercolours has gone on show at the studies centre.

The selection of images and details about the artists have been drawn together by Barrow archivist Susan Benson.

George Romney is the best known artist represented in the displays.

The archive had three original sketch books from the Dalton-born portrait painter, two of which feature work from a tour of Italy between 1173 and 1775.

These books were bought by Harper Gaythorpe from auctioneers Christies in 1896 and became part of the Barrow library collection in 1951.

Romney was born in Dalton on December 15 in 1734, went to school at Dendron and spent some of his early years in a cottage overlooking Hawcoat quarry.

He was apprenticed first to his cabinet maker father John and then to Kendal artist Christopher Steele before setting up on his own in 1757.

From 1763 he was based in London and quickly made his reputation.

He returned to Kendal in poor health in 1799 and died in November 1801. He was buried in St Mary’s churchyard in Dalton.

Also in the display is work showing daily life on Walney by Abel Masson.

He was born in Paris in 1846 and on the 1881 census was living at Daltongate, Ulverston and was working as an artist.

By 1911 Abel and his Ulverston wife Isabella (nee Fell) were in London. He died in 1926.

Another to feature is Ben Lones, who was born in Glasgow in March 1884.

On the 1901 census he was living at Blake Street and was a shipyard apprentice.

Many of his drawings featured in the Evening Mail in the 1940s.

The artist died in December 1974 and donated 121 of his drawings to Barrow library.

Richard Howard Penton lived from 1882 to 1960 and had one of his drawings of the Barrow launch of the Japanese warship Mikasa in 1900 published by the London Daily Graphic.

He served with the Sherwood Foresters in the First World War and continued his drawing and painting in France.

There is also mention in the displays of Lake District visitors who recorded what they saw, including William Gell who made drawings of beauty spots in 1797.

The Barrow Archive and Local Studies Centre is open Wednesday to Friday from 9.30am to 5 pm.

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