Oil be seeing you - 'treasure house' revealed

PUBLISHED: 09:07 05 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:59 11 May 2010

LOGGING IN: Fred Hohler, mayor Paul Grimes, and Phil Smith. 3311DW011

LOGGING IN: Fred Hohler, mayor Paul Grimes, and Phil Smith. 3311DW011

TWO years work on a catalogue of art in the public domain across Herts culminated on Thursday evening. The publication was given an official launch at the Market Hill Rooms in Royston last week, largely due to the efforts of the Friends of the Royston &

TWO years work on a catalogue of art in the public domain across Herts culminated on Thursday evening.

The publication was given an official launch at the Market Hill Rooms in Royston last week, largely due to the efforts of the Friends of the Royston & District Museum.

Friends chairman Phil Smith said: "We believed it was a shame that such an important publication would not be given a proper launch."

Members worked with the Public Catalogue Foundation - which was responsible for the publication of the Herts edition of Oil Paintings in Public Ownership - to ensure there was wider knowledge of the catalogue.

"It is an important publication and even more so as it includes all the paintings that are in the Royston Museum collection," said Mr Smith.

These include the works of Royston artist EH Whydale.

Fred Hohler, chairman of the Public Catalogue Foundation, told an audience in Market Hill Rooms that Herts proved to be a "treasure house" of art in public collections.

The publication showed works which were held by museums, libraries and in civic buildings.

"There really is a remarkable collection of art across the county," he said.

Mr Hohler was critical, however, of what he said was a lack support given to the project from local authorities in the county.

"The work we are doing is of national importance when it comes to displaying the kind of art that is in public collections," he said.

"It's a great shame that when it comes to harvest funds for such a project there is no public money."

The Herts catalogue contains 1,600 paintings in public ownership from more than 40 collections across the county.

In opening the evening, Royston's mayor Cllr Paul Grimes said it was "quite amazing" to see the quantity of art on display across the county.

"Art has to be seen and this is one way to make that possible," he said.

Hitchin MP Peter Lilley also attended the launch.

He said: "This is a fantastic initiative.

"For the first time, people can see the terrific range of art which we own but which few of us know exist.

"It shows where all the publicly owned oil paintings in the county are to be found."

n The Royston & District Museum has a limited number of catalogues available for sale.

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