Pittuck exhibition will raise cash to save iconic Barnard Castle mural
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
AN EXHIBITION of a former dale artist’s work is to go on display in Barnard Castle to raise cash to restore an iconic mural he created in the town’s parish hall.
The mural was painted by Barnard Castle School teacher Douglas Pittuck in 1957, and despite restoration work done in 2003, it has suffered deterioration because of damp.
Concerns were raised about the condition of the artwork in January, leading to volunteers creating a group to have it restored to its former glory.
Antique dealer Charlie Ing, a member, said Mr Pittuck’s family had selected a number of his artworks to be part of a display at The Witham in 2020. Mr Pittuck’s daughter, Susan Skelton, had also given a number of paintings to the group to sell as part of the bid to raise the £15,000 needed for the restoration.
Mr Ing said: “The mural is a valuable asset for the town and it is something that should be saved. It is the history of the town. We do have it saved digitally now so in the future if it needs restoration there is a reference.
“There has been some damp coming through and there has been some remedial works done to the roof and it appears to have resolved the problem.” Mr Ing said the exhibition was also aimed at raising the profile of the artist and his work. He added: “It is an amazing piece of work. We want to get primary schools to see the exhibition and raise the profile. People should be proud to have an artist like that from the town and people should take pride in that.
“We are looking to have 20 to 25 paintings in the exhibition. We didn’t want to have too many but we have a good breadth of his work including sketches of Barnard Castle School pupils, landscapes and street scenes.”
While going through his works, Mr Pittuck’s family found sketch books containing drawings of pupils that he had taught. They now want identify who the pupils are so that the sketches can be given to them. Mr Ing said: “Mrs Skelton and her family really want them to go to their rightful homes.”
It is hoped that the pupils who receive the sketches will make a donation towards the mural’s restoration.
After hearing about the fundraising campaign, the son of a friend of Mr Pittuck’s has agreed to put on a gig at the parish hall. John Wesley Rackham will perform on the evening of Saturday, February 29.
Anyone interested in seeing the sketches of the school pupils can join the “Pittuck Mural Group” on Facebook.
The exhibition at The Witham will run from Saturday, April 4, 2020, to Sunday, April 26, 2020.