Historic painting of Preston restored after campaign launched

View of Preston from Penwortham Hill being installed back into the Harris
View of Preston from Penwortham Hill being installed back into the Harris
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A 200-year-old painting is back on display in Preston’s Harris Museum and Art Gallery, after a campaign was launched to restore it.

A fundraiser was set up with a target of £4,400 last year, to preserve John Jenkinson’s painting View of Preston from Penwortham Hill.

View of Preston from Penwortham Hill, which is back on display at the Harris

View of Preston from Penwortham Hill, which is back on display at the Harris

Following the success of the campaign, conservationists have lovingly restored the painting, which is now back on show in the iconic building, along with engravings from the same period that help tell its story.

The preserved painting shows a sunny harvest scene set against the tall chimneys and windmills of an emerging industrial Preston.

Many of the landmarks in the painting are still recognisable today, including the Minster Church of St John, Avenham Parade, and Penwortham Old Bridge. 

Curator Lindsey McCormick said: “Without specialist treatment this unique view of Preston would have been lost forever. 

“It is with thanks to the generosity of the public, the Friends of the Harris and Art Aid that visitors can once again enjoy this remarkable painting.”

Coun Peter Kelly, executive member for culture and leisure at Preston Council, said: “We would like to thank the conservators at Lancashire County Museums Conservation Studio for their excellent work.

“The View of Preston from Penwortham Hill tells an important story, the story of Preston’s industrial development and it will be seen by hundreds of thousands of local people and visitors to Preston for generations to come.”

The painting is now on display in the fine art gallery, and entry is free.

The campaign to restore the 1821 painting was launched a year ago, along with the opening of the exhibition depicting rural life.

View of Preston from Penwortham Hill was the highlight of the showcase, and the Friends of the Harris were hoping to preserve it.

It was received by the Harris in the 1950s in a damaged condition and was not usually exhibited, but museum leaders put it on display with a public appeal for funds towards its conservation. The £4,400 target was met, and experts have now restored the artwork.