Paintings bequeathed to council in Devizes

Devizes Town Council has accepted two paintings as a bequest and will loan them to Wiltshire Museum.

The watercolour paintings by Bernard C Gotch were in the will of Irene Maypee Holland, who lived in Exmouth for many years. One of the paintings features St John’s Church, Devizes, and the other is called Old Houses, Potterne.

She requested that they be bequeathed to the clerk and council members of the borough of Devizes and the solicitors for her estate wrote to the town council offering the paintings.

Town clerk Sarah Todhunter said in a report to the town council’s community and civic resources committee that the lack of wall space in the town council’s buildings should be considered.

Coun Ted East said he had contacted Wiltshire Museum director David Dawson, who researched the paintings on the internet and said they would be of interest.

He proposed the town council gratefully accept the bequest and offer the paintings to the museum on a loan basis.

But Coun Jeff Ody suggested that a cash donation to the museum might be more appropriate if the council decided to sell the paintings.

This was opposed by fellow councillors, and Coun Jane Burton said: “If they (the paintings) are left to the town council, they are left to the town council – end of story. It’s not for us to sell them even if the money does go to a good cause.”

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