Restoration of Important Burntisland Paintings

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The Burntisland Common Good Fund assets include three oil paintings which are currently displayed in the Burntisland Burgh Chambers. In 2009 these paintings were examined by conservation and restoration professionals at the request of Kirkcaldy Museum (now Fife Cultural Trust) and Burntisland Heritage Trust. The recommendation was that all of the paintings were in need of restoration.

Unfortunately at that time Burntisland Heritage Trust lacked the resources to proceed with the restoration and conservation project. In 2019, thanks to a generous donation from the late Joe Miller and much appreciated grants from the Co-op Locality Community Fund and the Burntisland Common Good Fund, secured funding to take the project forward.

The purpose of the project is to restore these three Common Good paintings to their original condition as well as enhancing and retaining the value of important Burntisland Common Good assets. In addition the paintings will be protected and conserved for the benefit of the community, visitors to the town and future generations. The conservation and restoration work is being carried out by Egan, Matthews and Rose in their Dundee studio.

Two of the paintings are by Andrew Young (1854–1925) who was a professional photographer who lived and worked in Burntisland. He was also a distinguished artist and eleven of his paintings, all belonging to the Burntisland Common Good Fund, now hang in the Burgh Chambers. The two which are to be restored are his well-known oil paintings, ‘The Bridge of Life’ and ‘The Magistrates’ Seat’. 'The Bridge of Life' depicts 85 characters who all lived in Burntisland at the time the painting was completed in 1923. It is the first of the three paintings to be restored and is pictured (above right) at the beginning of its journey to Dundee in September 2019. (Photo courtesy of Chris Hill and the Burgh Buzz blog.)

The third oil painting which is to be restored, pictured below, is by S. Humble (probably Newcastle artist Stephen Humble, 1793-1853) and is dated 1834. It is one of the oldest paintings of Burntisland in existence and shows a view of the town from the Lammerlaws prior to the arrival of the railway and the extensive development of the harbour. Some artistic licence can be identified.


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