Restoration of Important Burntisland Paintings

Site navigation - please use menu on left (click here to display it if not visible). If problems, use site map.


Please click here to see the YouTube video on the project.

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, we were able to take the project forward.

The purpose of the project was 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. The project has now been completed. The paintings have been protected and conserved for the benefit of the community, visitors to the town and future generations. The conservation and restoration work was carried out by Egan, Matthews and Rose in their Dundee studio. All three of the restored paintings were returned from the Dundee studio on 4th  August 2020. A slideshow video is to be produced telling the story of the paintings and their restoration.

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 have been 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.


‘The Bridge of Life’ is pictured (above left) at the beginning of its journey to Dundee in September 2019 (photo
courtesy of Chris Hill and the Burgh Buzz blog); and (above right) being rehung in August 2020.

The third oil painting as restored is pictured below. This 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.

Webpage by Iain Sommerville;
Help on bookmarking this page.