Art dealer shows support for City Council’s museum service

Press Release: 13/10/2008

Winchester Cathedral from St Cross Road (detail) by Captain John Durrant

Winchester City Council’s museums service has recently acquired a watercolour of Winchester Cathedral painted in the early 19th century, to be added to its collection of topographical art.

Nothing unusual in that you may say but, in this instance, Winchester Museums had a helping hand from a benevolent London art dealer with a fondness for the city.

The painting, Winchester Cathedral from St Cross Road by Captain John Durrant, portrays the cathedral as seen from today’s junction between St Thomas’ Passage and Southgate Street.  Unlike today, a clear view of the cathedral was actually achievable from this point in the early 19th century, showing how undeveloped the city was at the time.

To purchase this picture, Winchester Museums took advantage of the Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Fund, successfully bidding for a grant of £675 which was nearly 50% of the purchase value.  This was helped by a reduction in price by the fine art dealer Guy Peppiatt of nearly £300.  Mr Peppiatt, who owns Guy Peppiatt Fine Art in St James’, London, specialises in British drawings and watercolours from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Ross Turle, Curator of Recent History, commented:

“Guy Peppiatt spent his schooldays in Winchester.  He was happy
to reduce the price of the picture to make it affordable for Winchester Museums, knowing it will be displayed for the enjoyment of local people.  We are very grateful for his support and for the V&A grant which have combined to make this purchase possible.”

Cllr Patricia Stallard, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and Sport, said:

“Our museums service is very careful to acquire only those objects and pictures which will truly enhance our understanding of the history of the town and wider district.  Staff routinely look for other sources of funding to help reduce costs of all kinds, and this is another small but nevertheless significant success story.”

The picture will help
to illustrate the change in appearance of the city over the centuries.  It will be displayed for the first time next February as part of the Mayor’s Choice exhibition in the City Space at Winchester Discovery Centre.